A Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number from HMRC is a ten-digit code required by all sole traders, partnerships, and limited companies in the UK, in order to file a Self Assessment tax return. It’s unique to that individual or organisation and remains unchanged forever.
You will also need a UTR if you have other forms of income or expenses that require you to file a Self Assessment tax return.
If you don’t have a UTR, you won’t be able to submit a Self Assessment tax return, therefore running the risk of upsetting HMRC. Plus, you may open yourself up to heavy penalties.
So, to help reiterate the importance of UTR numbers and how to correctly acquire your own, we’ve asked Mike Parkes from GoSimpleTax to shed some light on their role in tax return submissions.
FH: What is a UTR?
A UTR helps HMRC identify and process tax returns against the correct taxpayer’s records providing them with a way to match records to payments. They can also use it to monitor for suspicious activity.
The UTR will be needed to complete a Self Assessment tax return, to pre-pay taxes in instalments and to work with an accountant.
FH: Who uses them?
Any individual with self-employed income or income from rental property probably forms the biggest group that will need a UTR.
These individuals will need to perform a Self Assessment tax return. For other taxpayers, it may also be relevant when registering for the Construction Industry Scheme or working with an accountant.
FH: How can I get one?
As you won’t receive a UTR number unless you’re registered as either self-employed or a new business, you’ll need to do so on HMRC’s website. Alternatively, you can call them on 0300 200 3310. There is no cost to doing either.
Be careful if you have already started trading. HMRC expects you to register within at least three months of the end of your first month in business. They will consider strict penalties if you fail to do so.
To avoid such fines, register as soon as you can with all the below information to hand:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Home address
- Phone number
- National Insurance number
- The date you started self-employment
Double-check that you have fully completed the process if you’re still waiting on your UTR following registration.
FH: What if I’m already registered?
If you have previously registered or submitted a tax return you could find your UTR easily on numerous documents from HMRC, such as:
Previous tax returns, payment reminders, notice to file tax returns, statements of account, the ‘welcome to Self Assessment’ letter SA250 or even stored in software should you use it to file your return.
In addition, your HMRC online account will also display the code, provided you can access it. If none of these options prove fruitful, contact the Self Assessment helpline.
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