HMRC has long accepted personal credit cards as a means of payment for tax bills by people using the self assessment system, and even with a surcharge it has been a favourable way of budgeting cash flow for sole traders and businesses.
From January 13th 2018 this is set to change with those wishing to settle bills using a credit card only being allowed to use 'business' registered credit cards. The majority of sole traders do not have business registered credit cards - and would have under a few months now to apply for and activate one.
It appears that HMRC may be using this as a way to counter the effects of the ban on surcharges when paying using credit card - ranging to over 2 percent of the payment. The ban on surcharges comes in on the same day HMRC will no longer accept personal credit card payments.
HMRC state that they would have to swallow the surcharge cost and at a loss and that is why the change in policy has been implemented. People wishing to pay by credit card after January 13th 2018 should make sure they either pay before that date or make sure they have access to a business credit card.