Who needs a UTR number anyway?
If you’re a self-employed sole trader, partnership or limited company in the UK a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is required. The number is unique to the individual or organisation and will never change.
You’ll also need a UTR if you have other forms of income or expenses that require you to file a Self-Assessment tax return.
Should you not yet have a UTR you’ll be unable to submit your self-assessment tax return and could run the risk of upsetting HMRC. Penalties are introduced by HMRC for late filing.
To help reiterate the importance of UTR numbers and how to correctly acquire your own, we’ve asked Mike Parkes from GoSimpleTax to shed some light on their role in tax return submissions.
What is a UTR?
A UTR helps HMRC identify and process tax returns against the correct taxpayer’s records.
If you have income outside of PAYE or own a business and don’t act compliantly when it comes to your Self-Assessment tax return, you could face criminal prosecution.
Who uses them?
Any individual with self-employed income or income from rental property probably forms the biggest group that will need a UTR.
These individuals will need to perform a Self-Assessment tax return. For other taxpayers, it may also be relevant when registering for the Construction Industry Scheme or working with an accountant.
How can I get a UTR?
As you won’t receive a UTR number unless you’re registered as either self-employed or a new business, you’ll need to do so on HMRC’s website. Alternatively, you can call them on 0300 200 3310. There is no cost to doing either.
Be careful if you have already started trading. HMRC expects you to register within at least three months of the end of your first month in business. They will consider strict penalties if you fail to do so.
To avoid these fines, register as soon as you can with all the below information to hand:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Home address
- Phone number
- National Insurance number
- The date you started self-employment
Double-check that you have fully completed the process if you’re still waiting on your UTR following registration.
What if I’m already registered?
You should already have a UTR code somewhere. If you’ve misplaced it, start by checking any correspondence that you may have received from HMRC. All previous tax returns will reference it, along with any notices you may have had to file a return, payment reminders or statements of account.
In addition, your HMRC online account will also display the code, provided you can access it. If none of these options prove fruitful, contact the Self-Assessment helpline.
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This content was created on 14th December 2020
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