UTR Number

If you have worked as self-employed before or are looking to set up your own business then it’s important to understand one of the vital requirements of this career path – a UTR from HMRC.

What is a UTR?

When it comes to self-assessments HMRC will assign you what is known as a UTR, which is a unique taxpayer reference number. This is used so that they are easily able to find and manage an individual’s tax records. This number will never change and will stay with you for as long as you’re on their records. It may at times finish with a letter ‘K’ but will always contain no less than 10 digits.

Who requires a UTR?

The only people who would require a unique taxpayer reference number are those who need to submit a tax return of their own. There are many reasons why you may be required to submit a tax return, the most common examples are if you have ever submitted a self-assessment tax return which would likely be if you have established a limited company of your own, if you happen to owe tax for savings interest, capital gains or dividends purposes, you have set yourself up as self-employed or if you earn more than a certain amount (£100,000) annually.

If you have taken the route of setting up a limited company then you will also require a unique taxpayer reference for your business so HMRC can identify which businesses owe tax and how much. This will be just the same as a personal UTR and must also be kept safe as there are different forms of tax returns that companies are required to do.

How do you get UTR?

Despite how simple the system sounds, HMRC does not give out UTR numbers automatically and you are required to apply for one yourself.

This can be done in several ways, such as:


On the HMRC website you will need to register for self-assessment as a necessity before you can submit a tax return. Going through this process will automatically grant you a UTR number which will be sent to you via post. This is by far the fastest and simplest way that you can apply.

By Phone

You are able to contact HMRC on 0300 200 3310 between 8am and 6pm on Mondays to Fridays and have a talk with them about applying for your unique taxpayer reference number. Be sure to have personal details on hand, such as your national insurance number as it may be a requirement.

They have been known to redirect people back to their website to apply so be prepared for that possibility.

By Post

It is possible to write a letter to HMRC and request your UTR that way but it is likely to take a long time as it will not be immediately granted based on your first letter alone and will require certain documents to be provided afterwards along with an HMRC employee reading your letter out of many sent each day and general postal waiting times back and forth.

The minimum time it would take would be several weeks and is strongly recommended to apply by phone or online if possible.

What you need to get a UTR?

When you are registering for self-assessment you will need to be prepared to have information on hand.
You will need your full name (including middle name(s)), date of birth, address where you are currently residing, national insurance number and contact details in your phone number and email address.
Aside from your personal details, details of your self-run business should also be necessary. For this you will need the registered business address and its phone number, the type of business that you operate and the exact date that you began your self-employment.

It’s important to have these details accessible and accurate otherwise it will delay your application.

When do I get my UTR?

Once you have successfully registered for self-assessment online, or applied by phone, you should expect to receive your unique number via post within 10 working days.

If you happen to be abroad at the time then this timeframe is increased to 21 working days.

What happens if I lose my UTR?

Losing your unique taxpayer reference number is a simple problem to solve but it can have unfortunate consequences. Your number can be found on your ‘Welcome to Self-Assessment’ letter, otherwise known as an SA250, on your account in the HMRC app, any reminders of payments, notices of needing to file a tax return, self-assessment tax returns that you have submitted previously or your statement of accounts. If you are looking for your companies UTR this can be found on your ‘notice to deliver a company tax return’, otherwise known as a CT603.

If you are certain you cannot find your number anywhere then it is important to contact HMRC by phone and explain the situation. By not contacting HMRC quickly may leave you open to alarming situations such as identity theft and fraud that could have been avoided.

For more information and advice on how we can help, feel free to contact us on 01274 712020