Corporation & Personal Tax

UTR numbers: what is it and how to get it

October 23, 2020

Your UTR number is essential for filing tax returns and other business functions

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Accountant explaining to a client about UTR numbers
Accountant explaining to a client about UTR numbers

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What is a UTR Number & Difference between Company vs Personal UTR?

Question mark on what UTR number is

A unique taxpayer reference (or UTR) number is a ten-digit code that's unique to you or your company.

It's intended to identify you or your business personally with HMRC for anything and everything that has to do with your tax obligations. Your UTR number will remain the same throughout your entire life, just like your National Insurance Number.

HMRC uses your UTR number to keep tabs on your tax obligations.

It provides them with an easy way to match records to payments and monitor for suspicious activity. You'll need your UTR number to complete self-assessment tax returns, work with accountants, and pre-pay taxes in instalments.

Company vs. Personal UTRs

Personal UTRs are automatically issued by HMRC to anybody who registers for self-assessment. These numbers cannot be utilized as your company UTR. Instead, you'll be assigned a separate UTR for your company after it's incorporated.

You don't need to do any work to make this happen. Companies House will notify HMRC at the appropriate time and, within days following company formation, you should receive a letter from HMRC that includes your company's UTR. The letter will be addressed to your registered office address and will not be sent to your own personal address.

Why you need a UTR Number: 3 Reasons You Need It

You might not actually need one at all.

The only people who need UTR numbers are those who file Self-Assessment tax returns-- that means that they've either set up a Limited Company or they're self-employed. If you do file self-assessment tax returns, you need a UTR number so that:

1. HMRC can monitor your tax obligations

HMRC will use this reference to track your tax obligations which could help you also get a tax refund if you've overpaid your tax.

2. You can file tax returns

You'll need it for your 2019/2020 self assessment tax return if you're self employed and your company UTR is used to calculate your company tax.

3. You can partner with accountants

Accountantsand financial professionals will need to know your UTR to help with your filings and financial affairs.

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Where to find your UTR number: 5 Places to Find a UTR

You can find your UTR number in a variety of ways, provided you've already got one. It should be easy to identify thanks to its length; your UTR can be easily located on numerous documents from HMRC, including:

1. Previous tax returns

2. Payment reminders

3. Notices to file tax returns

4. Statements of account

5. The "Welcome to self-assessment" letter (SA250)

Your UTR number can also be found online in your Government Gateway account. It's located in the top right-hand corner of your account summary.

How to Register & Get a UTR Number:

When you launch a limited company or get set up for self-assessment tax returns, you automatically undergo the UTR registration process. You'll automatically receive a UTR number after the process is complete. Keep in mind that it can take some time to receive your number-- it's best to apply a few months in advance of when you'll need your UTR number to ensure things go smoothly.

In order to register for your UTR number, you'll need to provide:

  • Your full name
  • Your current address
  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Your date of birth
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address
  • The date that your self-employment began
  • The type of business you're starting
  • The address of your business
  • The phone number for your business

Applying for your UTR number is free and, provided you've got all of the necessary information in-hand, easy. You can notify HMRC online or print and fill out a form before posting it to them.

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Finding a lost UTR number

Those who've lost their UTR numbers should act quickly to rectify the situation. When it comes to taxes and the government, it's always best to have your ducks in a row before deadlines start approaching. Try to have your National Insurance number at the ready and then ring HMRC's self-assessment helpline at 0300 200 3310.

Transferring or Acquiring a Company UTR Number

If you purchase a company and continue to trade under the same company number then the UTR doesn't change. If the assets and liabilities of the company are being transferred to the acquiring company (effectively meaning it's no longer trading as the same entity), then the acquiring company's UTR number will apply.

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