How to Get UTR Number? Complete Guide for Beginners

The Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is a distinctive identifier assigned by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to individuals and entities in the United Kingdom for tax purposes. Think of it as your tax fingerprint – a unique combination of numbers that sets you apart in the eyes of the tax authorities. Whether you’re a self-employed individual, a company director, or someone earning income outside of PAYE, obtaining a UTR number is a crucial step in ensuring you comply with HMRC regulations. 

This unique alphanumeric code is essential for filing tax returns, managing tax obligations, and facilitating efficient communication with HMRC. In this blog, we will explore UTR numbers, providing a step-by-step walkthrough for beginners in the UK market.

What is a UTR number?

What exactly is a UTR number? A UTR number, short for Unique Taxpayer Reference, is a fundamental component of the UK tax system. This alphanumeric code, issued by HMRC, serves as a unique identifier for individuals and businesses, distinguishing them in the realm of taxation. 

Think of it as your tax identity – a personal mark that allows HMRC to track and manage your tax affairs accurately. The UTR number is crucial for various financial activities, such as filing tax returns, ensuring compliance with tax regulations, and conducting effective communication with HMRC. 

Who Needs a Unique Tax Payer Reference (UTR)?

Who requires a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)? Understanding the need for a UTR number is pivotal for anyone engaging in financial activities that fall outside the realm of Pay As You Earn (PAYE). 

Here’s a breakdown of who specifically requires a UTR:

Self-Employed Individuals: If you’re self-employed, freelancing, or running your own business, obtaining a UTR number is essential for meeting your tax obligations.

Company Directors: Directors of limited companies must have a UTR number to manage corporate tax affairs and ensure compliance with HMRC regulations.

Individuals with Additional Income: Those earning income beyond their regular employment, such as rental income, dividends, or foreign income, need a UTR to report these earnings accurately.

Partnerships: In the case of partnerships, each partner should have their own UTR to navigate the complexities of partnership taxation.

Trusts and Estates: UTR numbers are also necessary for trusts and estates to fulfill their tax obligations and communicate effectively with HMRC.

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How to Get UTR Number in UK?

The process varies depending on your circumstances, whether you are an individual, self-employed, or a company director. Below, we’ll explore the steps involved in acquiring a UTR number and break it down further for first-time individuals and companies.

To obtain your UTR number, follow these general steps:

  1. Register with HMRC: If you haven’t done so already, register with HMRC online. You’ll need to provide essential information about yourself or your company.
  2. Choose the Appropriate Registration Form: Select the appropriate form based on your status. Individuals may use the Self-Assessment registration, while companies will need to complete the necessary forms for corporate tax.
  3. Complete the Application: Fill in the required details accurately, providing information on your income, business activities, or corporate structure.
  4. Wait for Confirmation: After submitting your application, HMRC will process your request. Upon approval, you’ll receive your UTR number via post or email.

How to Get a UTR Number for the First Time?

If you’re an individual seeking your UTR for the first time, follow these steps:

Register for Self-Assessment: Visit the HMRC website and register for Self-Assessment. Provide personal details and information about your income.

Complete the Registration Form: Fill out the registration form, ensuring accuracy in the provided details.

Wait for UTR Issuance: Once your application is processed, HMRC will issue your UTR number. Keep an eye on your mailbox or email for confirmation.

How to Get a UTR Number for a Company?

For company directors, the process involves additional steps:

Incorporate Your Company: Before applying for a UTR, ensure your company is officially incorporated. You’ll need your Company Registration Number.

Register for Corporation Tax: Complete the Corporation Tax registration form, providing information about your company’s activities and finances.

Receive UTR Confirmation: Upon successful processing, HMRC will send your UTR number. It’s a crucial identifier for your company’s tax obligations.

By following these step-by-step guidelines, individuals and companies can successfully obtain their UTR numbers and stay compliant with HMRC regulations.

How Long Does it Take to Get a UTR Number?

The processing time for obtaining a UTR number in the UK may vary based on individual circumstances and the method of application. Typically, it takes around 10 working days for HMRC to process a UTR application submitted online. However, factors such as the complexity of the information provided, the volume of applications, and the accuracy of the details submitted can influence the processing time. 

It’s essential to ensure that all information is entered correctly to avoid delays. In some cases, individuals or businesses might receive their UTR numbers sooner than the standard processing time, while others may experience slightly longer waiting periods. It’s advisable to check the application status and, if necessary, follow up with HMRC if there are any concerns about delays.

How to Get Your UTR Number if Lost?

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having lost your UTR number, there’s no need to panic. Retrieving a lost UTR number is a manageable process, and here’s a guide on how to go about it:

  1. Check Previous Correspondence: Begin by reviewing any previous correspondence with HMRC. Your UTR number may be present on letters, tax returns, or other documents from HMRC.
  2. Access Online Accounts: If you have an online account with HMRC, log in and check for your UTR number. It may be available in your account details or previous communications.

III. Contact HMRC: Reach out to HMRC directly via phone. The HMRC helpline can provide assistance in recovering lost UTR numbers. Be ready to provide personal information to verify your identity.

  1. Retrieve from Accountant or Tax Advisor: If you use the services of an accountant or tax advisor, they may have a record of your UTR number. Contact them for assistance.
  2. Check Bank Statements: Your UTR number may appear on bank statements related to transactions with HMRC. Scan through your statements for any relevant information.
  3. Use the Online UTR Retrieval Service: HMRC provides an online service for individuals to retrieve lost UTR numbers. Access this service on the official HMRC website, follow the instructions, and verify your identity to regain access to your UTR.

Remember, maintaining a secure record of your UTR number is crucial to prevent such situations. If all else fails, contacting HMRC directly is the most reliable method to recover a lost UTR number.

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How Can I Get My UTR Number by Phone?

Getting your UTR number by phone is a straightforward process that provides quick assistance for those who prefer direct communication. To obtain your UTR number over the phone, you can contact the HMRC helpline dedicated to assisting individuals with their tax-related inquiries. 

Ensure you have essential personal information, such as your National Insurance number and other details, readily available before making the call. The HMRC representative will guide you through the necessary verification steps to confirm your identity. Once verified, they will provide you with your UTR number. Keep in mind that call volumes may vary, so it’s advisable to choose a time when you can dedicate sufficient time for the call. 

This convenient option allows for real-time assistance and is particularly helpful for individuals who may have lost their UTR number or require immediate access for tax-related matters.

Closing Note

Obtaining your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is a pivotal step in navigating the intricacies of the UK tax landscape. Whether you’re an individual, self-employed, or a company director, this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights into the process. By following the outlined steps and tips, you can efficiently secure your UTR number, ensuring compliance with HMRC regulations. Remember, a well-managed tax profile starts with this unique identifier, setting the foundation for smooth interactions with HMRC and facilitating accurate reporting of your financial activities. 

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