What Is A UTR Number And How Do I Get One?

UTR stands for Unique Taxpayer Reference. It’s a number given to all self-employed workers so that HMRC can more effectively process their tax returns.

It’s a key part of the Self Assessment process and acts as an identifier for your submission. Without a valid UTR code, you can’t submit a Self Assessment tax return.

If you’re unfamiliar with UTR numbers or are unable to find yours, we’ve detailed everything you need to know below so that you can submit with complete confidence.

What is a UTR number?

A UTR number is a unique 10-digit number assigned to anyone that is required to file a Self Assessment tax return to HMRC.

You’ll have received your UTR number when you registered for Self Assessment. It’s commonly referred to as a ‘tax reference’ should you struggle to find it. 

Where can I find my UTR number?

If you haven’t yet registered as self-employed, you’ll need to do this first as this is the trigger for HMRC to send you a UTR (unless you already have one).

If you already have a UTR but you’ve lost it, don’t panic. There are plenty of ways to retrieve it before you need to contact HMRC. Start by searching for any previous tax returns or notices to file a return. You can always find the reference in your HMRC online account too.

Other locations typically include:

  • Your initial ‘Welcome to Self Assessment’ letter (SA250)
  • Your Self Assessment tax return
  • Any payment reminders
  • Your statement of account

If for some reason these documents don’t display your HMRC UTR number, or you can’t find it in your online account, contact the Self Assessment helpline. HMRC’s team are best placed to locate this information ahead of Self Assessment tax returns.

It may be the case that you haven’t fully completed registration if you haven’t received a UTR number. 

Registering for a UTR number 

If you are looking to apply for a UTR number, you’ll need to register with HMRC. Once you register as self-employed, you’re automatically assigned a UTR code. You can apply for a UTR number on HMRC’s website or alternatively call them on 0300 200 3310 and ask directly.

Remember, you are expected to register within three months of commencing self-employment. Failure to do so could result in you receiving a fine, so be sure to register promptly with all necessary information at your side to streamline the process. 

What information do I need to register for a UTR number? 

Once you’ve ascertained how to get a UTR number, you need to be sure that you have the following information to hand before starting the process:

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Home address
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • Phone number
  • The date you started being self-employed

 All items in the list are relevant to the registration process and will significantly reduce the time it takes to authenticate your account.

Why do I need a UTR number?

The main reason for needing a UTR is to file your Self Assessment tax return. In some cases, not acting compliantly when it comes to your Self Assessment tax return or your UTR number can result in you being subject to heavy fines and criminal prosecution.

You’ll also need your UTR number to complete your Self Assessment tax return, your CIS registration, and if you plan on having your finances handled by an accountant.

Got your UTR code? It’s time to hone the Self Assessment tax return process itself. What’s important is that you don’t leave your submission until the last minute; it can be stressful having to locate all the necessary documentation and receipts.

However, with a software solution like GoSimpleTax, filing your tax return becomes a breeze. You’re able to take pictures of expenditure as it occurs and stop deadlines from creeping up on you. You could even reduce your tax liability by recognising areas where you’re not claiming for expenses properly.

Speak to our team today for more information about your self-employment tax responsibilities and how to get a UTR number in a way that works for you.

Last updated on 25th October 2019.

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