What Is a Unique Tax Reference Number? (Why It Is Important)

What is a UTR number?

This is a ten digit code that is assigned to every UK taxpayer. In fact, it’s one of the most important pieces of information about you that HM Revenue & Customs holds on file.

You’ll find out why in our guide to how to complete your tax return online. We’ve got everything you need to know about filing your income tax return online, including what to do if you’re missing some documents. And if you want help filling in your form, we’ve put together step-by-step guides to make sure you get the best possible outcome.

Who at HMRC needs a UTR number?

A UTR number isn’t required, but it’s useful for people who want to file their taxes online. If you’re looking to claim expenses abroad, you’ll need one. And there are other reasons why you might need to file a tax return.

You don’t need a URT number unless you have lots of money coming into the UK.

There are other situations where you could need to file a tax form, such as if you own property overseas.

Getting a UTR number

Registering for Self Assessment online helps you avoid missing out on tax credits and allowances. You can register for Self Assessment online here. This includes:

• Income Tax Credit for people earning less than £50,000 per annum;

• Childcare Allowance for parents whose children are under 13;

• Working Tax Credits for those aged 16–24;

• Universal Credit for everyone over 18;

• Housing Benefit for anyone living in social housing;

• Council Tax Reduction Scheme for those paying council tax;

To get a UTR number, how long does it take?

Apply online and register for self assessed tax if you want to receive a UTR number immediately. You must be able to prove that you are resident in the UK. If you do not have a valid address in the UK, you cannot claim a UTR number.

Call HMRC on 0300 200 33 10 to find out how to request a UTR number. You will be asked for your National Insurance number. This is required to complete the application form.

Write a letter to HMRC asking them to send you a URN number. Include your full name, address and contact telephone numbers. Send it to:

HM Revenue & Customs

Taxpayer Services

PO Box 20



Information you’ll need to get your UTR number

The Universal Transfer Rule (UTR), introduced in April 2017, requires UK businesses to report their profits and losses annually. If you’re a sole trader, limited liability partnership or unincorporated association, you’ll need to complete a self assessment tax return each year. This includes providing proof of your taxable profit or loss for the previous financial year.

You’ll need to provide four pieces of evidence to show how much money you’ve earned or lost over the course of the year. These are:

1. Your annual accounts

2. A statement showing what you spent during the year

3. Tax reference numbers

4. Proof of your taxable profit or total loss

If you run a small business, you might find it easier to use one of our Business Checklist templates to help you fill out your self assessment form.

To get a UTR number, how long does it take?

If you’re like most people, you’ll probably never use it. But if you ever need to prove tax liability, you could find yourself needing to produce evidence of your UTR number. And if you’ve misplaced or forgotten yours, there are some things you should consider doing.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) recently launched a new online tool to help taxpayers check whether they still have access to their UTR number. Once you enter your personal information into the system, you’ll receive an email containing your UTR number, along with instructions on how to retrieve it. You must keep hold of your UTR number for three years after submitting your return.

The tool is designed to make life easier for those who have moved house, changed jobs or simply forgot about their UTR number. However, if you’re worried about losing your UTR number altogether, you should contact HMRC immediately. They’ll send you a replacement number within 48 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a UTR number to send in your return?

If you are self employed, or you run a limited company, you must provide a Unique Tax Reference Number (UTR). This number is used to identify your tax return. You don’t need one if you work for HMRC – it’s free. But if you’ve been paying yourself dividends, or you’ve set up a limited company, you’ll need a UTR number, otherwise your return won’t be accepted.

What is a UTR number for a company?

A limited company needs a unique Universal Transaction Reference (UTR) number in order to operate legally. A UTR number is a 10 digit code used to identify each individual company registered under UK law. They are issued to you when you start your company and must be kept on file for all future use.

They are required because HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) uses them to identify which businesses owe what in terms of income tax. Companies are expected to pay their full annual liability within 28 days, and failure to do so could lead to fines and even imprisonment.

The UTR is also useful for preparing tax returns and paying your dues, as well as being able to access certain online resources and filing systems.





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