Everyone submitting a Self Assessment tax return has their own Unique Taxpayer Reference number – more commonly known as a “UTR number”.
These UTR numbers help HMRC process tax returns at a more efficient, effective and accurate rate, ensuring everyone pays what they owe and receives any money back that they might be entitled to.
Here, we answer some of the most common questions surrounding UTR numbers, including “what is a UTR number and how do I get one?”, and tell you everything you need to know about finding and using your own UTR number.
What does your UTR number mean?
A UTR number is a 10-digit number completely unique to each and every UK taxpayer. Whether the taxpayer is to register for self-employment or is an individual or part of a partnership or company, a UTR number is needed to file a Self Assessment tax return online or via post.
How to get a UTR number
HMRC issues a UTR number when you register for a Self Assessment tax return. There are several ways to obtain a UTR number, including by phone, online and by post.
How to apply for UTR number by phone
You can call HMRC on 0300 200 3310 to ask about your UTR number.
They may ask you for some information (including personal details and your National Insurance number). They may end up directing you towards applying for your UTR number online.
How to apply for UTR number online
One of the quickest ways to get a UTR number is by applying online and registering as self-employed.
This can be done on HMRC’s website.
How to apply for UTR number by post
You can also write a letter to HMRC asking to send you a UTR number.
Whilst this used to be the preferred option, people are gradually beginning to move towards online methods instead.
Writing a letter can involve a lot of back and forth (as well as mounting postage fees) as you trade information with HMRC, and the process can often take several weeks. If you’ve got tax to file quickly, then applying by letter may not be feasible.
How to apply for UTR number with GoSimpleTax
An easy way to apply for a UTR number is with the GoSimpleTax wizard.
All you need to do is answer eight simple “yes” or “no” questions to find out if you need to file a tax return. We’ll complete the HMRC forms to get your UTR number and send them to your inbox instantly. All you need to do is print off the completed form and post it to HMRC.
When should I register for a UTR number?
Be sure to register with HMRC before 20th December, as it can take up to six weeks to receive your UTR.
When a taxpayer attempts to file a Self Assessment tax return without a valid UTR number, HMRC will reject the tax return and the taxpayer could be penalised and face late filing fines of up to £1,600.
How do I find my UTR number?
Have you registered for a Self Assessment tax return? If so, you can find your UTR number in three different places:
- On your HMRC form SA100 (your Self Assessment tax return)
- On your HMRC form SA316 (your Self Assessment notice to file letter)
- On your statement of account.
What does a UTR number look like?
If you look for a reference number on one of these documents, you’ll find the UTR number in the last 10 digits. A UTR number example would be: 1234567890.
What is a company UTR number?
If you’ve set up a limited company, you’ll need a UTR number for the business. This is so that HMRC can identify which companies owe what in terms of tax.
Like a personal UTR, a company UTR is 10 digits long and will be issued to you when you register your limited company.
Be sure to keep this number on file, as you will need it for a variety of tax purposes in the future, including business taxes, tax returns, and corporation tax.
How to close UTR number
If you decide to go into full-time employment and/or stop earning money outside of PAYE, you must let HMRC know. However, you don’t need to worry about how to close a UTR number – unless you’re declared bankrupt you tend to keep this number for life.
In any case, you will need to complete a signed form confirming that you have ceased trading as a self-employed worker and send this to HMRC. If this involves filing a tax return, you may be entitled to a tax refund once this has been processed by HMRC.
Should you decide to return to self-employment later down the line, it’s likely that your UTR number will remain the same.
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We hope we’ve answered the question: “what is a UTR number and how do I get one?”
Let’s make tax simple!