What Is My UTR Number?

The UK tax system is both complex and dynamic. It’s in a constant state of flux with frequent legislative changes, the Making Tax Digital rollout in progress and with the General Election in mind, tax changes are always at the forefront of party policy.

But one thing that remains consistent when it comes to taxes (apart from the fact they have to be paid!) is your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number which never changes after you’ve registered it. It is used for all tax dealings and correspondence with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Read on for the lowdown on your UTR.

What is a UTR Number?

A UTR number is a unique 10-digit code that HMRC assigns to those who need to file a self-assessment tax return including individual taxpayers, the self-employed, sole traders and those in a business partnership. HMRC uses Unique Taxpayer Reference numbers as a unique identifier for each taxpayer.

Why is a UTR Number Important?

UTR numbers are essential for anyone that has to complete a self-assessment tax return. You can’t complete your SATR without one! HMRC uses UTR numbers to verify the identities of taxpayers, to locate the correct account and ensure that tax records are accurate.

Here’s why they’re important.

HMRC Correspondence

All correspondence that you receive from HMRC in relation to your tax affairs and obligations will contain your UTR number. Any correspondence that you send to HMRC should also contain your UTR number so they can accurately identify your tax account and records.

Completing and Filing Self-Assessment Tax Returns

You will need your UTR number if you have to file a self-assessment tax return. It is needed to register to pay tax, to file your tax returns and for any communication with HMRC.

Paying a Tax Bill

You’ll also need your UTR to pay your tax bills so that HMRC can ensure that the payments are allocated to the correct account.

Who Needs a UTR Number?

Anybody that falls into one of the below categories will need a UTR number.

Self-Employed People and Sole Traders

If you’re self-employed, including being self-employed as a sole trader, and earned more than £1,000 before any tax relief, you’ll need a UTR number to file your self-assessment tax return.

Landlords and Buy-To-Let Property Owners

If you’re a landlord that’s in receipt of rental income and have to report it to HMRC, you’ll need a UTR number to do so.

Business Partnerships

If you’re a partner in a business partnership, you’ll need a personal UTR for yourself to file your tax returns.

High Earners, Additional Income and High Child Benefit Charge

If you’re in employment and don’t receive any additional income, you typically do not need a UTR number unless your total taxable income exceeds £150k. If you do receive income from other sources such as dividends or crypto, you might need to obtain a UTR to file a self-assessment. You’ll also need one if you’ve had to pay capital gains tax or paid the high income child benefit charge during the last tax year.

How to Get a UTR Number

You will receive your UTR after you’ve registered with HMRC’s online service. To register, you can visit the HMRC site and provide all the requested information including your name, address, National Insurance Number, date of birth and details about your self-employment and business.

Once you’ve completed the registration process, HMRC will send confirmation including your UTR by post. You should receive this within 10 working days. You can then register for self-assessment and activate your account using the activation code HMRC will provide and you can then file your tax returns online.

How to Find Out Your UTR Number

If you’ve previously received a UTR number but are unsure what it is, here’s how to find it.

On Your Old Tax Returns

Your UTR can be found on any previous self-assessment tax returns that you’ve filed.

Your HMRC Account Online

You can find your UTR on the HMRC website by logging into your tax account and looking in the self-assessment area. There is also functionality to request a reminder.

On Correspondence from HMRC

You can find your UTR on any correspondence you’ve received from HMRC including notices, letters and payment reminders, tax return reminders and tax bills. You can also contact them to confirm your UTR.

If you work with an accountant or tax advisor, they will also be able to confirm your UTR number.

Keep Your UTR Secure

It goes without saying that you need to ensure that your UTR number is secure. Physical copies should ideally be stored in a locked filing cabinet and digital documents that contain your UTR should be password protected.

Your UTR number should only be shared with parties that you trust such as your accountant or tax advisor and you should be mindful of any scams such as email or phone communications that are trying to obtain your UTR.

If you have any queries about your UTR, your tax obligations or our accounting service, our friendly, expert team are on hand to help. Speak to an accountant today on 0330 024 0406 or by requesting a callback here.