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What is a UTR number and how do you get one?

Wondering how to go about getting a UTR number? Or what a UTR number even is, for that matter? Here’s all you need to know about your Unique Taxpayer Reference…

Wondering how to go about getting a UTR number? Or what a UTR number even is, for that matter? Here’s all you need to know about your Unique Taxpayer Reference…

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
12 JANUARY 2021
4 min read
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What is a UTR number?

A UTR number – or a unique taxpayer reference – is a 10-digit number that sometimes (but not always) ends in a K. Consider it your own personal business ID; it’s what HMRC will use to identify you. When you’re given a UTR number, it stays with you for life – a lot like your National Insurance number.

You don’t need to worry about applying for a UTR. You’ll be sent one automatically if you set up a limited company, or register as self-employed.

Who needs a UTR?

Not everyone needs a UTR number. You won’t need one if you’re a company employee, for instance. But you’ll need a UTR number if you:

  • are self-employed
  • own a limited company
  • earn more than £100,000
  • owe tax on dividends, savings, or capital gains
  • are a landlord and need to pay tax on your rental income

Where can I find my UTR?

You should be able to find your UTR on any letters, tax returns, or other documents you receive from HMRC. If you’re registered for self-assessment, you’ll also be able to find it in your Personal Tax Account.

What’s my Personal Tax Account?

Your Personal Tax Account is an online portal where you can run your tax affairs. This is where you can do things like file tax returns, check your income and see how much tax you’ve paid.

How do I apply for a UTR number?

To register for a UTR number, you need to declare yourself as self-employed to HMRC. This means registering for HMRC’s online services.

It’s all very simple. You just fill in the online application form, then HMRC will be in touch with your UTR number.

What info do I need to get a UTR number?

When you register as self-employed, you’ll be asked for information including your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • National Insurance Number

Do I have to pay for a UTR number?

No, absolutely not! There are companies out there that will charge you for applying for a UTR number, but doing it yourself is both easy and free.

Why do I need a UTR?

This is how HMRC knows who you are, so it’s something they’ll ask for when you get in touch with them.

You’ll also need it when you contact them, as well as your:

  • Government Gateway user ID and password
  • National Insurance Number

If your turnover has been hit by COVID-19, you might be able to claim a grant through the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. To access this and other benefits you’ll need your UTR number to hand.

What happens if I lose my UTR?

If you can’t find your UTR, the best thing to do is to give HMRC a call. You can always call the self-assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 and they’ll help you out. It’ll be a quicker process if you have your personal details to hand, including your National Insurance number.

What happens if I get my UTR number wrong?

If you use the wrong UTR number on your tax return, the first thing to know is that you’re not alone. Getting your UTR wrong is a common mistake. So be sure to double check your forms before sending them off. If you make any errors, get in touch with HMRC to put them right.

I’ve just registered as self-employed, do I need insurance?  

If you’re registered as self-employed and have applied for your UTR number, your next step might be to think about business insurance. Comparing with us is quick and easy.

I’ve heard there are a lot of scams around tax and contact from HMRC at the moment. What can I do to protect myself?

Fraudsters are known to impersonate HMRC using emails, text messages and calls, so you need to be very wary about giving any information away in response.

The message could be a scam if it:

  • is unexpected
  • offers a refund, tax rebate or grant
  • asks for personal information like bank details
  • is threatening
  • tells you to transfer money

Don’t respond to such emails or texts and put down the phone if it is a call. If you are suspicious, you can check to see the kinds of genuine emails and other forms of contact HMRC are using. Remember, they will never contact you to ask for this kind of information in this way. If you are worried you can:

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Anna McEntee - Insurance comparison expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

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