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How to Apply for a UTR Number from the HMRC
Are you embarking on a self-employment journey in the UK? It’s an exciting venture that gives you the freedom to work on your terms, but it also comes with some administrative responsibilities.
One essential aspect that you must not overlook is paying your taxes. As a self-employed individual, it is crucial to get your tax affairs in order, and this starts by applying for a UTR number from HMRC.
This unique tax reference number is essential for filing your tax returns and managing your tax affairs.
In this blog post, we will delve into everything you need to know about the UTR number – what it is, who needs it, how to apply for one, and other essential details.
What is a UTR Number?
A UTR number is a unique number issued by the HMRC and assigned to each self-employed taxpayer for self-assessment returns.
As a tax reference number, it’s only issued to those registered for self-assessment returns. The number has 10 digits and usually ends with the letter “K.”
When you’re registered, the UTR is typically quoted on several documents from HMRC, including:
- Previous self-assessment tax returns
- Notice of file a tax return
- Statement of account
- Your welcome to self-assessment letter or SA250
- Reminders of payment
The UTR is also available on your self-assessment account on the HMRC website. When you choose to become self-employed, it means:
- You’re responsible for your own tax calculation
- You’re not entitled to the same rights as employed persons, such as holiday pay
- You must declare your earnings when filing tax returns
To inform the HMRC that you’re self-employed, head to the government’s online registration portal. Enter your email address and complete the registration process.
Who Needs a UTR Number?
If you’re in full-time employment, you don’t need to apply for a unique tax reference. HMRC usually deducts taxes automatically from pensions, savings, and wages.
However, if you have a side hustle such as drop shipping and other forms of untaxed income, register with the HMRC. By doing so, you’re able to declare the additional income.
Self-employed persons must register for a UTR number. This is because they must calculate their tax from profits earned and declare their income.
To ensure that you fill in your tax returns correctly, it’s recommended that every self-employed person keep records. Such records include bank statements, invoices, and others. You can keep these records on paper or digitally.
Students also need a UTR number, especially if they work. The UK government requires everyone who is of tax age to remit taxes to the HMRC and national insurance contributions.
How to Get a UTR Number?
There are three ways of getting a UTR number. They include:
- Register online
- Apply by post
- Apply over the phone
How to Register for a UTR Number Online:
Head over to the HMRC website, enter your email address, click “Continue”, and complete the questions. Once you do so, HMRC will create your account.
Within 10 days, you’ll receive a letter from the HMRC. In some cases, the HMRC may take up to one month to approve your UTR application and issue you with your tax number.
When you receive your letter, it will contain a unique 10 digit UTR number. You can use the UTR number to file a return. The HMRC will send another letter with an activation code for your personal account.
If you don’t receive a second letter, you can get your activation code online. Upon receiving the activation code, you’ve 28 days to activate your account. Otherwise, the activation code will expire.
After activating your account, you can file your tax returns anytime. Always file your returns before the deadline. You can find your UTR number online within the self-assessment section or the top right corner of your account summary.
How to Apply for a UTR Number by Post:
The HMRC allows self-employed persons to apply for the UTR number via post. To request your UTR number, write to HMRC.
Remember, applying via post will likely take longer. This is because several letters will go back and forth, requesting for additional information.
How to Apply for a UTR Number by Phone:
To apply for your UTR number over the phone, call the self-assessment hotline on 0300 200 3310. Even though you provided the details above and more, the HMRC may direct you to apply online.
Information You Need to Claim a UTR Number
The HMRC will require you to provide the following personal information when requesting for your UTR.
- Full name
- Current address
- Phone number
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Personal phone number
- National Insurance number
You must provide details about your business or side hustle.
- Business phone number
- Type of business
- Business address
- When you started self-employment
- Location and more
What to Do if You Lose Your UTR Number?
If the HMRC has already issued you a UTR number and can’t find it, call the self-assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310. The HMRC support team will request for your National Insurance number. It’s best that you have the number at hand.
If you submit your self-assessment returns without your UTR, it could result in a fine. The best course of action is to hold the return until the HMRC issues you with your UTR. Filing your returns without a UTR will make it difficult for the HMRC staff to match your returns to your records before the deadline.
What Are UTR Numbers Used For?
The HMRC assigns self-employed persons with a UTR to track their tax obligation. They also use the unique number to match the records to tax payments. If you claim a tax refund, your UTR can help to facilitate the process.
To file a tax refund, fill in form P50. Send the form to HMRC together with parts 2 and 3 of your P45 form. Before filing the forms, contact the HMRC helpline on 0300 200 3310, and they will tell you what information to provide.
What Happens if I Use the Wrong UTR Number?
One of the most common mistakes that self-employed persons make when filing tax returns is entering the wrong UTR number.
If you enter the wrong UTR number when filing your self-assessment tax returns, it’s possible you could face penalties and fines from the HMRC.
To be safe, double-check your UTR number before submitting your return. If you realise you made a mistake, you can correct your tax return for up to a year after the filing deadline. To correct the mistake, visit the HMRC online portal, and sign in.
If a year goes by without you correcting the mistake, you’ll need to write to HMRC explaining why you need to make changes.
How Can I Confirm if My UTR Number Is Valid?
There are two methods for checking if your UTR number is valid. The first method is calling the HMRC support on 0300 200 3310. They will verify your details before confirming if the number is valid.
The second method is checking online. Visit the HMRC website, and under the “check your UTR number” section, enter your UTR. If your number is invalid, get in touch with HMRC support immediately.
To file your tax returns as a self-employed person in the UK, you must have a UTR number. This unique tax reference number is essential for every taxpayer.
The HMRC requires you to calculate your tax obligations and file your returns. By doing so, you will avoid penalties and fines.
Remember, you can apply for your UTR number online, by post or over the phone. When filling in your tax returns, always double-check your UTR number to avoid fines.
To confirm if your UTR number is valid, visit the HMRC website or call the HMRC support on 0300 200 3310.
If you’ve not applied for your UTR number, do so immediately. By doing so, you will fulfil your obligations as a self-employed person and avoid legal trouble.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this Section we answer your question on HMRC UTR numbers.
What is a UTR number?
A UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) number is a 10-digit number issued by HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) to anyone in the UK who is self-employed or needs to file a self-assessment tax return. This number is unique to each individual taxpayer and is used by HMRC to track your tax obligations.
Do I need a UTR number?
Yes, you will need a UTR number if you are self-employed or if you need to file a self-assessment tax return for any other reason, such as if you have additional untaxed income.
How do I get a UTR number?
You can obtain a UTR number by registering for self-assessment online on the HMRC website. Alternatively, you can also apply by post or over the phone by calling the self-assessment hotline on 0300 200 3310.
Can I file my tax returns without a UTR number?
No, you cannot file your tax returns without a UTR number. If you submit your self-assessment returns without a UTR, it could result in a fine, and it will be difficult for HMRC staff to match your returns to your records.
What if I lose my UTR number?
If you lose your UTR number, you should contact the HMRC self-assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310. They will ask for your National Insurance number to help retrieve your UTR number.
Is it safe to share my UTR number?
Your UTR number is confidential and should only be shared with authorized individuals, such as your accountant or tax agent who is filing your tax returns on your behalf.
How can I check if my UTR number is valid?
To check if your UTR number is valid, you can call the HMRC support on 0300 200 3310, or you can check online on the HMRC website by entering your UTR number under the “check your UTR number” section.
Can I use the same UTR number for multiple businesses?
Yes, your UTR number is unique to you as an individual, not to your business. So, you will use the same UTR number for all your self-employment activities.
What happens if I use the wrong UTR number when filing my tax returns?
If you use the wrong UTR number when filing your tax returns, you could face penalties and fines from HMRC. If you realise you have made a mistake, you can correct your tax return for up to a year after the filing deadline. If a year has passed, you will need to write to HMRC explaining why you need to make changes.