Who needs a UTR number, anyway?


Date: 11 November 2020

A yellow sticky note on a calendar marked ‘File Tax Return!’

If you're a self-employed sole trader, partnership or limited company in the UK, you will need a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number. The number is unique to the individual or organisation and will never change.

You will also need a UTR if you have other forms of income or expenses that require you to file a Self Assessment tax return.

If you haven't got your UTR yet, you will be unable to submit your Self Assessment tax return and could run the risk of upsetting HMRC. Penalties have been introduced by HMRC for late filing.

So, to help reiterate the importance of UTR numbers and how to correctly acquire your own, we’ve asked Mike Parkes from GoSimpleTax to shed some light on their role in tax return submissions.

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What is a UTR?

A UTR is a ten-digit reference number, also known as a tax reference. You will be sent a UTR automatically when:

  • you register for self assessment
  • you start a limited company

You will receive the UTR within 10-working days. Once you have your UTR, you will have to use it for all future correspondence with HMRC. Your UTR will help HMRC identify and process your tax returns against the correct taxpayer’s records.

Who uses them?

Individuals with self-employed income or income from rental property probably form the biggest group that will need a UTR.

These individuals will need to complete a Self Assessment tax return. For other taxpayers, it may also be relevant when registering for the Construction Industry Scheme or working with an accountant.

How can I get one?

You won’t receive a UTR number unless you’re registered as either self employed or as starting a new business. You’ll need to do this on HMRC’s website. Alternatively, you can call them on 0300 200 3310. There is no charge for doing either.

Be careful if you have already started trading. HMRC expects you to register within three months of the end of your first month in business. You could be subject to heavy penalties if you fail to do so.

To avoid these fines, register as soon as you can. Make sure you have the following information to hand:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • email address
  • home address
  • phone number
  • National Insurance number
  • the date you started self-employment

Double-check that you have completed the process correctly if you do not receive your UTR within 10-working days following your registration.

What if I’m already registered for Self Assessment?

You should already have a UTR code somewhere. If you’ve misplaced it, start by checking any correspondence that you may have received from HMRC. All previous tax returns will reference it, along with any notices you may have had to file a return, payment reminders or statements of account.

In addition, your HMRC online account will also display your reference number, provided you can access it. If none of these options prove fruitful, contact the Self Assessment helpline.

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2020 Mike Parkes, GoSimpleTax - tax return software that can help you manage your self-assessment.

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