What Is a Company UTR Number?

Published on: Jul 24, 2024
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Key Takeaways

  • A 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) issued by HMRC for UK businesses.
  • Sole traders, partners, and limited companies must have a UTR number.
  • You’ll get a UTR number when you register for a self assessment tax return online or set up a limited company.
  • If you’ve filed your first tax return, you can find your UTR number in HMRC correspondence or your personal tax account on the HMRC website or app.

What is a company UTR number?

A UTR number (Unique Taxpayer Reference) is a 10-digit number (e.g., 0123456789) issued by HMRC to any business in the UK that needs to pay taxes. The UTR is given to businesses such as solo traders, partnerships, limited companies, or any other business, irrespective of its legal structure.

How Do I apply for a Company UTR number?

As mentioned above, you’ll be issued a corporate UTR number during a tax self assessment registration or automatically when you set up a limited company. However, if you’ve done either but have yet to receive your UTR, you can call HMRC on 0300 200 3310.

Apply for your UTR number through their website by completing the relevant application form to submit a tax self-assessment. If you don’t want to do it through the website, you can complete a hard copy and post it to HM Revenue & Customs. You’ll then receive your UTR along with an activation code. It usually takes approximately 10 days when delivered to addresses or 21 days if you’re based abroad.

Read also: HMRC Tax Identification Number (TIN) Simplified!

Who Needs a Unique Taxpayer Reference Number?

UTR numbers are significant because they serve as your personal or business ID within the context of taxation. Its common uses include the following —

  • Tax filing — HM Revenue & Customs uses the UTR to track file records and process your returns.
  • Communicating with HMRC — HMRC will ask you to provide the number so they can trace your business records and respond to your queries.
  • Registering for tax purposes — To enrol for Value Added Tax, Company Tax, or Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), you must provide your unique tax reference.
  • Tax planning — Your accountant or Tax Consultant uses your UTR to access your tax records with HM Revenue & Customs and manage your tax obligations with HMRC.

Other reasons you will need to provide your corporate UTR are —

  • Changing your tax accounting period;
  • Contacting HMRC for company-related issues;
  • Filing tax and VAT Returns;
  • Informing HMRC about changes to your registered details or company structure;
  • Informing HMRC if your business is dormant;
  • Paying corporate tax and VAT;
  • Paying your employees; and
  • Registering for corporate tax, VAT, and PAYE.


Insight

A unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is a crucial identifier for tax-related purposes in the United Kingdom. The UTR number helps HM Revenue & Customs track an individual’s or company’s tax obligations, ensuring accurate record keeping and compliance with tax regulations.

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Can I use my own Unique Taxpayer Reference number as my company’s UTR?

No, you cannot use your personal unique taxpayer number as your company’s UTR. A personal UTR is issued to anyone who registers for self assessment. HM Revenue & Customs issues a corporation UTR after incorporation and uses it to identify the company for Tax purposes.

Fast Fact

While UTR numbers are assigned to individuals and companies in the UK, they are not interchangeable. Each serves a distinct purpose in the tax system. Personal UTR numbers are specific to individuals and used for self-assessment, while company UTR numbers are issued to limited companies for corporation tax purposes.

What information do I need to provide when registering my company as “active” with HMRC for tax purposes?

You’ll need to register your company as “active” with HMRC within three months of activating any business activity or receiving business-related income. You’ll need to provide the following information —

  • Company name and company registration number (CRN);
  • Trading start date (this will determine the start date of your initial tax accounting period);
  • Main address where you carry out your business activities (this doesn’t have to be your registered office address);
  • Outline your company’s principal activities (your SIC code will be needed here);
  • The date on which your company accounts will be noted. This is known as the “accounting reference date (ARD)” and will most likely be on the anniversary of the last day of the month of your business formation;
  • Any information on whether you’ve taken over an existing company/or are part of a group;
  • Comprehensive details of all company directors (names, addresses, National Insurance number);
  • If applicable, any information regarding the appointment of an agent and (accountant/tax advisor) who handles your company’s tax-related issues.

See also: Where Can I Find My Company Registration Number

Where can I find my UTR Number?

If you’ve lost or forgotten your Company UTR number, don’t worry. Most HMRC correspondence will display it; refer to your registration documents, returns letters, or HM Revenue & Customs notices.

If you need access to previous tax returns and other documents from HMRC (or simply want to check your UTR ), call the ? self assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 or visit the HMRC online and follow the relevant links.

Is a UTR number the same as a tax code?

No. The two tax numbers serve different purposes even though they are both issued and used by HMRC. The code determines Income Tax deductions from one’s salary or pension. The following table clearly and concisely compares the critical differences between UTR and the taxation code, highlighting their distinct roles and functions within the UK tax system.

UTR VS TAX CODE
UTR Tax Code
Purpose Used to identify the holder within the context of taxation. Used within the context of income tax withholding.
Format 10-digit number. Combination of numbers and letters.
Eligibility Companies, self-employed partners, and taxpayers with self assessment. Employers and pension providers.
Application To file corporate and self-assessment tax returns. Calculate income tax from salary or pension.
Use Track tax payments and related records. Track income tax withholding based on personal allowances and adjustments.

Can I get paid without a UTR number?

Yes. You do not need a UTR to get paid if you are an employee. You only need the taxation code.

What If I’m an Overseas Tax Payer?

If you’re an overseas taxpayer, you may be required to make an international payment to HMRC (which may be costly because of high international banking fees). Traditional banks may charge an administration fee to process international payments, so it’s best to refer to your bank policies. Remember, you can apply for a UTR number online from overseas.

Can the UTR number be shared?

A UTR is not strictly confidential or sensitive information and can be shared with trusted individuals or organisations who require it for legitimate use. You can share your UTR with —

  • Relevant government agencies that may need your tax information;
  • A trusted accountant or tax adviser assisting you with tax matters; and
  • To an employer or a financial institution that needs to verify your tax status.

Warning

We all face the potential threat of falling victim to phishing scams or identity theft. It’s crucial to know that fraudsters often disguise themselves as HMRC representatives or personnel from legitimate organisations, seeking identification numbers like your national insurance number or UTR. Verify the legitimacy of any communication and its source before sharing your number. Exercise caution and only disclose your UTR number to trusted entities for genuine tax-related matters.

See also: Business Bank Accounts for Small Businesses

In Conclusion

Completing your self assessment form and receiving your business UTR is easy. However, you need to ensure you don’t confuse the different numbers associated with your company:

  • Company Registration Number — issued when registering your company and is used to identify your company. It usually contains eight digits (e.g., 12345678) or two letters followed by six numbers.
  • VAT number — issued by HMRC for corporations registered for Value Added Tax. It contains nine digits, with the “GB” prefix (e.g. GB123456789)
  • Employer reference number — issued by HMRC when employers enrol their employees for PAYE (Pay As You Earn). The first part of the reference consists of three digits, identifying the tax office that deals with the appropriate PAYE. The second part follows a forward slash, specifying the tax office’s employer reference (e.g., 123/AB456).

When forming a company using a reputable formations agent such as Your Company Formations, they’ll handle many of these administrative tasks, including providing a secure portal where you can retrieve important company documents and numbers such as UTR.

Does being asked for a UTR Number mean I’m owed a tax rebate?

Not really. Being asked for your UTR does not mean you are owed a tax rebate. Remember, UTR is used to identify you or your company for the purpose of tax. Therefore, HM Revenue & Customs and other organisations may request UTR to —

  • Verify your identity for tax reasons;
  • Complete a tax return, pay your tax bill or tax-related correspondence;
  • Ensure accurate record-keeping and compliance with tax regulations.

However, if you believe you are owed a tax rebate or refund, work with a qualified accountant to review your tax records and contact HMRC to discuss your situation. Your accountant and HMRC should be able to guide you through claiming a refund.

I’ve been asked for my UTR number, but I’m not self-employed!

Even if you are not self-employed, you may still need a UTR. Here are specific reasons why you may have been asked to provide it —

  • To determine if you have additional income, such as rental income, dividends, or capital gains aside from your employment. If so, you may need to file a self assessment tax return to declare the extra income, even if you are not self-employed.
  • For company directors, you may be required to file a tax return and provide your UTR;
  • If you are part of an LTD, LP or LLP, you may need to provide the number for tax reasons.

When is UTR number generated?

A UTR number UK is generated when you register for self-assessment tax or incorporate a company. You may register for self assessment if you are self-employed as a sole trader, a partner in a partnership or an individual with income that requires tax filing.

Is the UTR number and transaction ID the same?

No, your UTR is not the same as a transaction ID.

UTR is a unique 10 digits long number issued by HM Revenue and Customs to identify individuals and corporations for the purpose of tax. A transaction ID, on the other hand, is a unique number generated by banks or payment processors to identify a particular financial transaction.

Why is my UTR number not working?

Your UTR becomes inactive if you have not used it for an extended period. To reactivate it, simply file your self-assessment returns.

How do I tell HMRC my company is now active?

Within three months of trading, earning interest, receiving an income, managing investment or any business activity, you should inform HMRC that your company is now active by registering for enterprise tax. To achieve this, you will need to —

Step 1: Gather the relevant information, which includes —

  • Company registration number;
  • The date you started to do business (your company’s first accounting period will start from this date); and
  • Date your annual accounts are made up to.

Step 2: Sign in to the HMRC registration service.

Once you have this information, log in to the HMRC registration service using your Gateway ID and password.

If you do not have the ID, you can create one through:

https://www.access.service.gov.uk/registration/email.

After signing in, you can select the enrol for company tax option and follow the prompts.

Step 3: Receive Directions for paying corporation tax.

HMRC will tell you the deadline for paying taxes.

You’ll need to file a corporate tax return, even if you make a loss or have no tax to pay.

You can also register for corporation tax in writing.

Your letter must include —

  • Your company name and registration number;
  • Date when the accounting period starts;
  • Target date for finalising the company’s financial accounts;
  • Primary location where the company conducts its business;
  • Description of the company’s core business activities;
  • Full name and residential address of each board member.

In case the company has acquired another business, provide the name and address of the previous entity, along with the name and address of the individual from whom the acquisition was made.

If the company adheres to the Income Tax (PAYE) Regulations 2003, indicate when this obligation occurred.

Make sure a company director or company secretary signs the document and includes a declaration that the information is correct and complete to the best of their knowledge.

Send the letter to

Corporation Tax Services,
HM Revenue and Customs.
BX9 1AX,
United Kingdom.

How do you get your UTR number for CIS?

To get a UTR for the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), you’ll need to first apply for UTR and, afterwards, register for the Construction Industry Scheme.

To register for a self-employed UTR number as an individual or a solo trader, register for self-assessment through the government’s website using the following link: https://www.gov.uk/register-for-self-assessment/self-employed.

You’ll find that you must register for self assessment and class 2 national insurance.

Once you have the UTR, you can register for CIS by following the information on this link: https://www.gov.uk/register-employer.

You could also get in touch with HMRC by calling the income tax general inquiries using the phone number – 0300 200 3300. When you call, ensure you have your UTR and national insurance numbers.

You could also register by post by completing the appropriate CIS registration form and sending it to HMRC.

https://www.gov.uk/what-you-must-do-as-a-cis-contractor

Where can I find the UTR number for my Company?

There is no central UTR number checker. However, you can retrieve it from the following official documents —

  • Locate your UTR check on correspondence from HMRC, such as previous tax returns or notices to file returns;
  • In your personal tax online account; and
  • From your HMRC app.

If you still cannot trace your number, you may contact HMRC for assistance through the self-assessment helpline, and they’ll post it to you in 10 working days.

How do I register as self-employed and get a UTR number?

If you’re self-employed as a solo trader, earning 1,000 before taxation relief in the last tax year (6 April to 5 April), you must register for UTR. You’ll need to create a Gateway user ID and password to sign in. HMRC requires that you register for both self assessment and class 2 national insurance.

The registration deadline is 5 October in your business’s second tax year.

How can I get my UTR number online?

You can get your UTR through the HMRC app or your personal tax account. To access it through the personal tax account, you will need to use your Government Gateway user ID and password.

You can get the HMRC app on the Apple or Google App Store and use your Gateway ID and password to sign in for the first time. For subsequent sign-in, you can opt for either signing in with a 6-digit PIN, facial recognition, or fingerprint. You can create one in the app or website if you do not have one.

What does a UTR look like

The UTR is a ten digits number, e.g., 1234567890 number, that may also be called a tax reference.

How long does it take to get a UTR?

According to Gov.uk, it is issued 10 days after registering and is available on the HMRC application.

How to register for UTR?

You can register online as a self-employed individual, or if you are a company, you can register for corporate tax. You should have gotten your number 10 days after registration.

How to activate UTR?

If you go for an extended period without filing self-assessment tax returns, your UTR will become dormant. To reactivate it, you simply need to start submitting your tax returns again.

Do I need the number to claim tax relief?

Yes, you need the UTR to claim relief. The UTR is essential for submitting your self assessment tax return as an individual or Company Tax Return as a company. You report your income, expenses, and any allowable reliefs in these tax returns. Your number helps HMRC identify your tax records and correctly process your claim. Without a valid UTR, you cannot submit your tax return and claim the relief you’re entitled to.

Article by

Fridar Gichuki

Fridar Gichuki is a lawyer by training turned dedicated content writer & strategist. She brings over 10 years of experience leveraging her legal acumen to support and inspire small businesses on legal, finance, and marketing topics. When not immersed in the world of content, you'll find her hiking across vast plains and scaling high mountains.

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