Your UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) Number is a 10 digit number that HMRC issued to you when you registered for self-employment.
A UTR number is unique to you and highly confidential, just like your National Insurance Number.
For that reason, retrieving it may be a bit more tricky than you anticipate.
Logging into your Government Gateway Account is the simplest way to find your UTR number online.
Although there are a few other places you can check.
How to Find Your UTR Number Online
You can find your UTR number online in your Government Gateway account. This is the online account you set up when you registered for self-employment online.
Once inside your Government Gateway account, you’ll be able find your UTR number either:
- Within the Self Assessment section;
- The top right-hand corner of your account summary.
Find Your UTR Number on HMRC Correspondence
As well as being able to find your UTR number online, you’ll find it on any correspondence you have from HMRC.
Your UTR number is the way that HMRC identify you on their systems to access your personal information.
This means they use it as your reference number on all correspondence.
If you have correspondence from HMRC then you can find your UTR number on your:
- Your HMRC Tax Return;
- HMRC Statement of Account;
- Payment Reminders or Late Payment Letters;
- Your SA250 which is a letter issued by HMRC when you first registered as self-employed.
Find Your UTR Number By Phone
If you are struggling to find your UTR number online, then the best bet is to call HMRC on 0300 200 3310.
You can then request your UTR number over the phone. Remember when you call HMRC you’ll need to confirm your identity.
Given the confidential nature of your UTR number, HMRC will need to post your UTR number out to you. It can take up to 7 days to arrive.
When Do You Get a UTR Number
You only get a UTR number if you are registered as self-employed. So if you have been asked for it, but don’t have one, you’ll need to get registered with HMRC.
Being self-employed means that:
- You must send in a self-assessment tax return;
- You’re responsible for calculating your own taxes;
- You do not have the same rights as someone who is employed eg: redundancy, holiday pay or sick pay.
Being self-employed brings with it certain legal and reporting responsibilities, so you should make sure you understand these before registering.
Sharing Your UTR Number
Your UTR number is a highly confidential piece of information so you should never share it unless you’re certain it’s for the right reasons. For example:
- You are a subcontractor and your contractor has requested it to confirm how much tax they should withhold;
- They are a professional such as an accountant with the authority to act on your behalf.
If you are unsure whether your UTR number is valid or you need to check it, then always contact HMRC first on 0300 200 3310.
How Can I Check a UTR Number?
You can check your own UTR number by calling HMRC on 0300 200 3310 or by going online.
UTR numbers are highly confidential since they are used by HMRC as part of the identification process when accessing information on an individuals taxes.
If you are a CIS contractor and need to check a UTR then you’ll need to verify subcontractors by:
Is My UTR Still Active?
As long as you have not de-registered as self-employed it will still be active. It will last for as long as you remain self-employed and won’t renew.
Can I Reactivate an Old UTR?
No. Say you were self-employed and then deregistered because you went back into full-time employment. If you decided you wanted to go back to self-employment you’ll have to register with HMRC again and they will send you a new code.
If you had not deregistered and continued to submit a tax return while you were employed, you’ll not need to ask for a new UTR number. You’ll need to declare any new self-employment earnings on your next tax return.
Where Do I Find My Limited Company UTR Number?
Your limited company UTR is different from your personal one. So if you have been asked for this reference and have a Limited Company you should clarify which one is required before you give it to anyone.
You’ll find your Limited Company reference on all Corporation Tax letters sent to you by HMRC.
If you cannot find it, call the HMRC Corporation Tax Return helpline on 0300 200 3410.
What’s the difference between UTR and Tax reference?
There is no difference and the terms UTR and tax reference are used interchangeably.
UTR actually stands for Unique Taxpayers Reference, so you may come across it being used in either way.
It shouldn’t be confused with your National Insurance Number though. This is a different code.
What to do if you are Self-Employed and Receive 2 UTR Numbers
If you have received a duplicate UTR number then you must contact HMRC quickly.
HMRC will think you are two separate people!
You should only ever have one code otherwise HMRC will expect more than one tax return. And if you fail to send one in you’ll be issued with an automatic penalty.
You’ll be able to appeal but there is no guarantee that HMRC will squash the charge.
So if you have more than one call the HMRC helpline on 0300 200 3310 as soon as possible to avoid any problems later on.
Can I Get Paid Without a UTR?
If you are self-employed then you should not have to give your UTR number to someone to get paid.
In fact, the number is highly confidential and could give someone access to a lot of personal information that HMRC hold about you.
It could be that they are:
- paying you under the rules of CIS and need to know what tax rate to use;
- checking whether you are really self-employed.
Either way, you should be able to submit an invoice and receive payment without share this piece of information.
Have a chat with the person requesting it and advise them that you are self-employed and will submit an invoice for them to pay without it.
Can I Get a Temporary UTR Number?
Unlike payroll where there are emergency tax codes, there is no such thing as a temporary UTR number.
The online application system means that it would take just as long to receive a temporary one as a permanent one as well as resulting in a lot of confusion for HMRC.
Anita is a Chartered Accountant with over a decade of experience taking self employed business owners from financially confused to business savvy.
She is the creator of the ‘Go Self Employed’ website, which her corner on the internet where she makes self employment less terrifying.