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What is a UTR Number

If you’ve been asked for your UTR number but don’t know what it means, you’re not alone. Perhaps you know it’s the number printed on a bit of paper somewhere at the back of a cupboard and have never given it much thought. Maybe you want to know how it’s used and why. From self-assessment to registering for the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), your UTR is an important component of our UK tax system. Find out what it is, why you need it, and what to do if you’ve misplaced yours. 

What is a UTR?

A Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is a 10-digit identification number used by HMRC (now His rather than Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) to identify you as a taxpayer. It does what it says on the tin; it acts as a unique identifier for tax purposes and helps HMRC keep track of taxpayers and their tax-related activities. Your UTR number is sometimes called your tax reference.

Why do I need a UTR?

Your UTR number is essential for HMRC to identify and communicate with you regarding tax matters. Whether claiming a tax rebate or filing a Self-Assessment return, your UTR ensures the taxman (or woman) knows who they’re dealing with.

Who needs a UTR? 

If you’re self-employed you must register with HMRC to fulfil your tax obligations. Once registered, you’ll receive a personal UTR number, which you’ll use to file your annual self-assessment tax return. Like your National Insurance number, your UTR stays with you for life.

For those working in the construction industry as subcontractors, you’ll also need a UTR to register for the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS). The CIS deducts money from a subcontractor’s payments and passes it to HMRC. While contractors must register for the scheme, it’s not mandatory for subcontractors. However, if you don’t register deductions are taken at a higher rate.

When setting up a limited company, you’ll receive a company UTR number to register for and pay Corporation Tax.

Where can I find my UTR?

Once you’ve registered for Self Assessment, your UTR will be sent to you by post within 10 days. However, you can also find it in your Personal Tax Account or the HMRC app, and it’s likely to be available there before it arrives by post. 

If you’ve set up a limited company, you must register the company with Companies House. Your company UTR will be posted to your company address within 14 days of registering.

The HMRC app

The HMRC app is a handy tool for keeping track of all your personal taxes. As well as telling you your personal UTR number, you can also use the app to check:

  • Your tax code and National Insurance number
  • Your income and benefits
  • Tax credit information
  • How much self-assessment tax you owe

You can also use the app to:

  • Estimate the tax you need to pay
  • Make a self-assessment payment
  • Track forms and letters sent to HMRC
  • Claim any refunds due
  • Update your address

Download the app here

What if I lose my UTR number?

If you misplace your personal UTR number, don’t worry. You can always retrieve it from your Personal Tax Account, the HMRC app, or on previous tax returns and other HMRC documents. If you have trouble accessing any of these resources, you can use the Government’s Self-Assessment chat function and ask for help. This chat function is a useful resource for anything related to self-assessment, and you can find it here.

If you need a copy of your Corporation Tax UTR, you might find it in your online business tax account or previous letters from HMRC. If those options don’t work, you can ask HMRC to send a copy by post to your company’s registered address. To use the request service, you’ll need your company registration number and your registered company name. 

Both personal and company UTR numbers are vital for HMRC to identify taxpayers and handle tax matters efficiently. Without a UTR, you won’t be able to file your tax returns, and you may find them chasing you once payment deadlines pass. 

Tax comes hand in hand with many codes and acronyms, so we hope you’ve found this article useful and that it’s answered everything you need to know about Unique Taxpayer Reference numbers. As always, if you need to know more, get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help.