What is a UTR number?


UTR stands for Unique Taxpayer Reference, which is a 10 digit number that is unique either to an individual or a company. The UTR number is what HMRC use to identify you personally with your tax obligations.


UTR numbers are automatically generated when you either register for self-assessment or when you set up a limited company. Your UTR number can be found on official HMRC documents (e.g. your SA250 ‘Welcome to Self-Assessment’ letter) and on previous tax returns.

How to register for a UTR


Your UTR is the reference number that HMRC uses to identify you and match you with everything to do with your tax arrangements. You will automatically be registered with a UTR number when you set yourself up for Self Assessment tax returns or when you set up a limited company.

Once you’ve been registered with a UTR, you can find it in a few different places:


  • In your SA250 (“Welcome to Self-Assessment”) letter
  • In your previous Self Assessment tax returns
  • In the notice you received from HMRC to file a tax return
  • In your Statement of Account and any payment reminders


When you are ready to start filing your Self Assessment tax returns, you will be sent the SA1 form from HMRC to sign – which is the process where you apply for a UTR number.


It can take some time to then receive your UTR number from HMRC, so be sure to leave enough time (around 20 working days usually) to receive it before you are required to file your first tax return.

For more details apply online or call 0333 240 6122

What information will I need to register for a UTR number?


You will need to have the following information to hand in order to register for self-assessment and be allocated a UTR number:


  • Full name
  • Current address
  • National Insurance number
  • Date of birth
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • The date your started as self-employed
  • The type/nature of your business
  • Business address
  • Business telephone number


Do you have to pay to apply for a UTR number?


No, the process of getting a UTR number is completely free.


What to do if you lose your UTR number


If you have misplaced your UTR number and have none of the above correspondence with it on, then you will have to get in touch with HMRC directly.


As UTR numbers are unique to each individual it is important to make sure you keep yours safe – they can be used for identity theft and fraud if they fall into the wrong hands.


Why do I need a UTR number?


There are several circumstances in which you will need your UTR number, for instance:


  • When completing your self assessment tax return
  • CIS registration
  • When working with an accountant or anyone else helping you with your financial affairs


HMRC will use your UTR number to identify you as a self-employed tax payer. If you earn any money that isn’t subject to any tax deductions before it is paid to you by your employer (i.e. PAYE) then it is essential that you register as self-employed with HMRC and get your Unique Taxpayer Reference number.


If HMRC discover that you are operating as a self-employed individual and haven’t notified them by registering for a UTR number you could be subject to heavy fines and potentially even criminal prosecution.


If you submit your self-assessment tax return without including your valid UTR number then it will not go through and you could then have to pay a fine for not submitting your return by the deadline.


What is a UTR number for a company?


Companies are also allocated with their own UTR numbers when they are set up and registered with HMRC.


Like those for individuals, a company’s UTR number is also made up of ten digits and will be found on official HMRC documents such as the CT603 “Notice to deliver a company tax return” form.


The UTR number for a company will be printed on the very first letter you receive from HMRC to the registered company address, and will appear next to a heading saying something like ‘UTR’, ‘Tax reference’, or just ‘Reference’.


HMRC will use the company-specific UTR number to identify your company whenever you contact them about tax.

For more details apply online or call 0333 240 6122