If you’re self-employed you will have been given a UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) when you registered with HMRC. It’s a 10-digit number, which you will to file your tax return or enter into any tax-related correspondence with HMRC. Your UTR is one of those things that you won’t use frequently, but on the occasions when you’re asked for it, nothing else will do.
Why do I need a UTR number?
HMRC uses the number to identify you as a self-employed taxpayer, rather than an employee paying tax through PAYE. If you become self employed and don’t notify HMRC, you wont have a UTR and therefore wont be registered to pay tax.
This could result in you earning money and avoiding tax, and that can lead to heavy fines or even a criminal prosecution.
What happens if I don’t have a UTR number?
When you submit your self-assessment tax return, or your accountant submits a tax return on your behalf, it must have your unique UTR number on it or it will not be accepted by HMRC. It’s therefore essential that you register yourself as self-employed with HMRC before you start to earn money, and that you keep your number safe as without it you won’t be able to file your tax return.
Where can I find my UTR number?
You can easily find your UTR number once you’ve registered as self employed with HMRC. It will appear on your ‘Welcome to Self-Assessment letter’ and on most communications you receive from HMRC such as payment reminders, your notice to file a tax return or your statement of account. If you register for online services with HMRC, you can find your UTR number when you log in.
What happens if I lose my UTR?
If you can’t find any correspondence showing your UTR number and you don’t want to register online, you can contact HMRC directly on 0300 200 3310. Once they have confirmed your identity they will post your UTR number to you, which can take up to seven days.
Remember you will need your UTR number to file your tax return whether you register for Self Assessment, use cloud-based accountancy services or hire a traditional accountant to do it for you. So make sure you have yours (or know where to find it) well before the end of the tax year!