A UTR number is a ‘Unique Taxpayer Reference’ assigned by HMRC to a company, a partnership, an organisation, or an individual who registers for Self Assessment.
Often simply called a ‘tax reference’, a UTR number comprises 10 digits. HMRC uses UTRs to identify businesses and certain individuals for tax purposes.
Do I need a UTR number?
A UTR number is required by businesses, organisations, and many individuals in the UK, including:
- Companies limited by shares
- Companies limited by guarantee
- Partnerships, including Limited Limited Partnerships (LLPs)
- Partners in business partnerships, including LLP members
- Sole traders
- Self-employed persons
- Limited company directors who receive income that is not taxed through PAYE
- Limited company shareholders who receive income from shares
- Charities and trusts
- Trustees and executors of estates
- Individuals who receive regular annual income from a settlement or trust
- UK residents with taxable foreign income above £300 a year
- Ministers of Religion
- Landlords and any other persons receiving rental income
- Individuals with a gross annual income of £100,000 or more
- Anyone who claims expenses of £2,500 or more
- Persons in receipt of certain capital gains
- Recipients of Child Benefit payments who have an annual income above £50,000
- Workers registered under the Construction Industry Scheme
- Anyone who receives untaxed income, incl. interest, that is not processed through PAYE
How to get a UTR number
HMRC will automatically issue a Unique Taxpayer Reference when you set up a limited company or register for Self Assessment. Your UTR should arrive by post within 14 working days of setting up a company or within 10 working days (21 days for non-UK addresses) of enrolling for Self Assessment, although it can take longer.
It will be sent to your company’s registered office address or the contact address you supply during Self Assessment enrolment. The letter you receive will also provide guidance on what to do next.
If you register a limited company, either directly with Companies House or through an online company formation agent, HMRC will be notified immediately. Your company’s UTR will then be automatically generated and posted to your registered office, so there is no need to apply for this number separately.
HMRC will use the UTR to identify your limited company for all Corporation Tax obligations. Once you have received the UTR number, you will be able to register your company for Corporation Tax. You can do this online on the HMRC website.
If you are a company director, a member of a partnership, or any other individual who is required to register for Self Assessment, you must visit the HMRC website and complete an online registration form (or print the completed form to send by post). You will not be able to file a personal tax return or pay tax via Self Assessment until you do so.
Once you have registered for Self Assessment and received your UTR, you will be able to create a new online account on the HMRC website and sign up for the Self Assessment service.
Within 7 days of doing so, HMRC will send you an activation code by post. When you receive this code, you will be able to sign in to your online account, file Self Assessment tax returns, and pay any tax that you owe.
Where to find your UTR number
You can find the Unique Taxpayer Reference for your limited company or for Self Assessment in a number of places, including:
- Your company’s online Corporation Tax account
- Your online Self Assessment account
- The “Welcome to Self Assessment” letter received from HMRC
- The “Corporation Tax Information for New Companies” letter received from HMRC
- The letter containing your Self Assessment activation code
- Notices to file a Corporation Tax return or Self Assessment tax return
- Statements of account
- Payment reminders
- Previous Corporation Tax or Self Assessment returns
- Any other official letters or notices received from HMRC
Your 10-digit UTR number may not be listed as ‘UTR’ or ‘Unique Taxpayer Reference’ – it will more likely be referred to as ‘Reference’ ‘Tax Reference’ or ‘Corporation Tax Reference’. On official HMRC correspondence, it should be located near the top of the page, on the right-hand side.
If you cannot sign in to your HMRC online account or find any documents containing your Unique Taxpayer Reference, you can contact HMRC to request your UTR number. Limited companies can do this online, and Self Assessment individuals can contact HMRC by phone.
Do I need more than one UTR number?
You cannot get more than one UTR number for a limited company, nor can you get more than one personal UTR for Self Assessment.
If you have set up a limited company and also need to register yourself for Self Assessment (as a director or shareholder), you will have two different UTRs:
- one for your company, for Corporation Tax purposes
- one for yourself, to declare and pay personal tax through Self Assessment
LLPs also need to register separately from each individual LLP member – the business will have its own UTR, and each LLP member will have a personal UTR of their own.
Is a UTR the same as a Company Registration Number (CRN)?
A UTR issued by HMRC is not the same as a Company Registration Number (CRN) issued by Companies House. They are different numbers that serve completely different purposes, so do not confuse the two!
- A Unique Taxpayer Reference is issued and used by HMRC to identify a particular company, organisation, or individual for tax purposes only. It consists of 10 digits.
- A Company Registration Number is immediately created and assigned by Companies House when a new limited company or LLP is incorporated. It is a unique 8-digit number or 6 numbers prefixed by 2 letters.
If you have set up a limited company or LLP, you can find your CRN on your Certificate of Incorporation or by viewing your registered company details on Companies House Service.
Is a UTR the same as a Vat Registration Number (VRN)?
UTRs and VAT Registration Numbers (VRNs) are not the same. A VRN contains 9 digits. It will be included on your VAT registration certificate, which you should receive from HMRC within approximately 30 working days of registration, though it may take longer.
Your VAT certificate will be sent to your VAT online account if you registered online. If you register by post or with an agent, HMRC will send you a printed certificate by post.
If you need or choose to register your business for VAT, you must do this in addition to registering for Corporation Tax or Self Assessment.