Last Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Company UTR Number: Understanding Its Purpose and Importance

post featured image

What Is a Company UTR Number?

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

You need a UTR number because it serves as your personal or business ID within the context of taxation. Its common uses include the following —

  • Online tax filing — HMRC 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 register 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 HMRC 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 company tax and VAT;
  • Paying your employees; and
  • Registering for company tax, VAT, and PAYE.

Company UTR Number: Understanding Its Purpose and Importance Your Company Formations

How Do I Receive My Corporation UTR Number?

As mentioned above, you’ll be issued a UTR number after filing your self assessment tax return or when forming a LTD company. However, if you’ve yet to receive your company UTR, you can contact HMRC online or by phone.

Apply for your company HMRC UTR number through their website and complete 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 HMRC. 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.

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 when you file a tax return for self-assessment. HMRC issues a corporation UTR after incorporation and uses it to identify the company for Tax purposes.

Company UTR Number: Understanding Its Purpose and Importance Your Company Formations

When registering my company as “active” with HMRC for tax purposes, what information do I need to provide?

You’ll have to register your company as “active” with HMRC for the tax mentioned above legalities 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

Insight

If HMRC believes that your company is likely to have tax liability, they will issue a “notice to deliver a company tax return.” Upon receiving this notice, you are required to submit a company tax return, regardless of whether your made losses or has no tax liability. Consider working with a qualified accountant to help you track your tax obligations.

I lost my UTR number, what do I do?

If you’ve lost your UTR or have forgotten it, you’ll find that it is quite easy to retrieve it. Your UTR number can be found on most of HMRC correspondence to your business; refer to your registration documents, returns letters, or HMRC notices.

Alternatively, you can HMRC on 0300 200 3310 to ask them to help you find a lost utr number.

Is a UTR number the same as a tax code?

No. The two tax numbers serve different purposes even though they are both issued by the 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.

 

Company UTR Number: Understanding Its Purpose and Importance Your Company Formations

Is UTR the same as tax reference number?

Although both a UTR number and a tax reference number are identification numbers used by tax authorities to monitor taxpayers and their tax obligations, they are not the same.

  • UTR numbers are unique 10-digit numbers assigned to individuals and businesses in the UK by HMRC. Each taxpayer receives a unique UTR, which is used to identify them when dealing with HMRC, such as when filing tax returns or paying taxes. Self-employed individuals, partnerships, and companies are all assigned a UTR for managing their tax-related affairs.
  • Tax reference number, also known as an employer reference number or PAYE reference, is a unique identifier for employers in the UK. HMRC uses this number to track the payment of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax and National Insurance contributions made on behalf of employees. A tax reference number comprises a three-digit HMRC office number followed by a unique reference, typically consisting of a combination of letters and numbers e.g., 345/BA7813

In summary, while UTRs are assigned to individual taxpayers and businesses, PAYE reference numbers specifically pertain to employers managing PAYE income tax and National Insurance contributions.

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). Remember, traditional banks may charge an administration fee to process the international payment, so it’s best to refer to your individual bank policies. Remember, you can apply for UTR number online from overseas.

Can 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.

Company UTR Number: Understanding Its Purpose and Importance Your Company Formations

Remember…

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 register to implement PAYE (Pay As You Earn) for their employees. 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).

Launch a limited company with a reputable formations agent such as Your Company Formations, to access and retrieve important company numbers and documents through a secure portal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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 refund. Remember, UTR is used to identify you or your company for the purpose of tax. Therefore, HMRC and other organisations may request UTR to —

  • Verify your identity for tax reasons;
  • File returns, payments, 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 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 register for self assessment documents to declare the extra income, even if you are not self employed.
  • For company directors, you may be required to file a self-assessment and provide your UTR;
  • If you are part of a LTD company or partnership, 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 when set up a limited 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 UTR number and transaction ID the same?

No, your UTR is not the same as a transaction ID. UTR is a unique 10-digit 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 for identifying 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 company 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, login 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 register 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 it to file a Company Tax Return, even if you make a loss or have no tax to pay.

You can also register for company 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 had to adhere to the Income Tax (PAYE) Regulations 2003, indicate when this obligation initially 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 to get a UTR number for CIS tax?

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 call HMRC on 0300 200 3310. 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 them 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 checker directly from HMRC. However, you can find your UTR number from the following official documents —

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

If you still cannot trace your number, you may contact HMRC to ask about your UTR number, and they’ll send it to you in 10 working days.

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

If you are 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 a 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 your account on the HMRC website, 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 apply for one through the app or website if you do not have one.

What does a UTR look like

The UTR is a 10-digit 1234567890 number that may also be called a tax reference.

How long does it take to get a UTR?

It is issued 10 days after registering and is available on the HMRC application.

How to register for UTR?

The UTR registration process differs for companies and individuals.

  1. UTR Registration for Companies:

When you register a new company with Companies House in the UK, the registration process automatically triggers the creation of a UTR for your company. HMRC will send your company’s UTR to the registered office address, typically within a few weeks of incorporation. You don’t need apply for a UTR number separately.

Once you receive your UTR number, you should keep it safe, as it will be needed for future correspondence with HMRC, including filing Corporation Tax returns and paying taxes.

  1. UTR Registration for Individuals (Self-Employed, Sole Traders, or Partnerships):

If you’re self-employed, a sole trader, or part of a partnership, you need to register for self assessment with HMRC to get a UTR. Follow these steps to register:

a. Visit the HMRC website to register for Self Assessment: https://www.gov.uk/log-in-file-self-assessment-tax-return/register-if-youre-self-employed

b. Fill in the required information, including your personal details, National Insurance number, and information about your self-employment or partnership.

c. Submit the registration form. HMRC will review your application and, if approved, send you a UTR by post, typically within 10 working days.

d. Once you receive your UTR, keep it safe, as you will need it for future correspondence with HMRC, including filing self assessment tax returns and paying taxes.

Remember that if you’re both an individual taxpayer (self-employed, sole trader, or partner) and a company director, you’ll have separate UTRs for your personal and company tax affairs.

How to activate UTR?

If you go for a long 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 a 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.