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If you use the standard, estimation or ratio options, you will not need to pay provisional tax during your first year of business. If you use the accounting income method (AIM), you’ll only pay provisional tax when you make a profit, even during your first year.

However, your first year in business is not tax free. Any income tax from your first year in business is usually due by 7 February the following year. If you have an agent it will be due by 7 April.

This may mean you must pay income tax for your first year in business at the same time as paying provisional tax for your second year in business.

You can choose to make voluntary payments of tax during your first year of business to help spread the cost. If you make voluntary payments you may be able to get an early payment discount.

Early payment discount 

You may be able to get an early payment discount if you:

  • are self employed or a partner in a partnership, and
  • get most of your income from the business, and
  • make a voluntary income tax payment before the end of the income year, or
  • use tax pooling funds to make payments for the income year, and
  • elect to receive the discount before the income year’s tax return is due, and
  • do not have an obligation to pay provisional tax in the income year, and
  • for earlier years you've never been liable to pay provisional tax and 1 of the following applies:
  • or, for earlier years you have been liable to pay provisional tax but have not derived business income within 4 income years since you were last liable to pay provisional tax.

Self employed people with student loans

If you're self employed and have a student loan, you may have to make repayments in your first year of business.

Early payment discount rate

  • Up to the 31 March 2022: 6.7%
  • From 1 April 2022: 2%.

Contact us to find out more.

Business - general questions

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Last updated: 28 Apr 2021
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