All about UTR numbers
A UTR number is a Unique Tax Reference number, assigned by HMRC to identify taxpayers who are required to submit a self-assessment tax return. UTR numbers consist of 10 digits and are sometimes referred to as a taxpayer number. Once you have a UTR number, this will not change and stays with you for your lifetime.
Do I need a UTR number?
You will need a UTR number if you submit self-assessment tax returns. There are many reasons why you may be required to do this, with some of these including:
- You are self-employed
- You owe tax on savings/dividends/capital gains tax
- You set up a limited company
- You earn more than £100,000 a year
- You live abroad and receive income from the UK
In addition to completing a self-assessment, a UTR could also be needed if consulting an accountant or financial advisor for tax planning purposes.
How I apply for a UTR number?
Applying for a UTR number is free of charge, and there are a variety of ways in which you can obtain this:
- Register online for a self-assessment tax return on the HMRC website and will automatically be given one
- Call HMRC, where you will be asked for some personal details. There is a chance they could still direct you to apply online.
- Apply to HMRC via post. This option can be a lengthy process as you will likely have to correspond back and forth to provide personal information.
Which personal information is needed to receive my UTR number?
When registering for a self-assessment tax return online, you will need to provide some personal details:
- Name, address and date of birth
- National Insurance number
- Telephone number and email address
If you are self-employed, you may also need to provide:
- Start date of becoming self-employed
- Your area of business
- Business address
- Business telephone number
Where to find your UTR number
If you have been assigned a UTR number but have since lost it, you can retrieve this information by calling HMRC’s self-assessment number. They will ask you for some personal details to confirm your identity, such as your national insurance number.
You could also find your UTR number on a previous self-assessment tax return or individual correspondence from HMRC such as a payment reminder.
You must provide your UTR number when submitting self-assessment tax returns as HRMC could be unable to match your return to their records before tax year-end, resulting in a fine.
Inserting the incorrect UTR number can also result in a fine and is one of the most significant errors that occur when completing tax returns. It’s always best to double-check the UTR number before submitting to HMRC or contact them to notify them of the correct number if you notice the mistake after submission.