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What is a UTR and why do I need one?

Enzo Ottens

A UTR, short for Unique Tax Reference, is 10 digit number used by HMRC. Your UTR number is similar to your National Insurance number; HMRC uses both numbers to link all your tax records.

The majority of people in the UK don’t have a UTR number as you only need one if you need to submit a tax return to HMRC. Like your NI number, your UTR stays with you forever.

Where do I find my UTR?

You can find your UTR online or on any letter that HMRC sends you related to your personal tax return:

  • Online - Your UTR number is held in your Personal Tax Account online. If you’ve set-up your account already, you can log on the HMRC website.
  • HMRC Letter - Any notice or payment reminder you receive from HMRC will have your name, address, and your UTR number. Confusingly, HMRC sometimes calls your UTR your “Tax reference” or “Our reference” on letters.

If you’ve forgotten your login or you can’t find any of your letters from HMRC, you can call the HMRC helpline to request your UTR. Their number is 0300 200 3310.

How do I register for a UTR?

Any UK resident can register for a UTR number with HMRC. You can either do this directly with HMRC or through a company like Earnr.

  • Registering directly with HMRC - You can either fill in, print out and post a physical form to HMRC or register online via the HMRC website.
  • Using a company like Earnr - You also ask someone to register for you and simplify the process. Earnr does this for free!

What information do I need?

HMRC needs quite a lot of information to set-up your UTR number:

  • Personal details - Like your name and date of birth.
  • Contact details - This includes your phone number and email.
  • National Insurance Number - Similar to a UTR number.
  • Current and previous home addresses - If you’ve moved in the past three year you need to provide your previous home address.
  • Details about your business - This helps HMRC understand why you’re registering for a UTR.
  • Details about your income - This is a wide set of questions to check if any special tax rules apply.

They need all this information to make sure your records with HMRC are linked and all the right rules apply.

How long does it take to get a UTR?

After submitting your UTR registration it takes 10 working days get your number. The main reason why this takes so long is because HMRC sends your UTR number through the post.

Makes sure you keep an eye out for the postman!

Earnr automates your day-to-day business and finance admin so you have more time to focus on growing and creating. Earnr can automate your tax return in just 17 minutes. Visit the app store to get started today.

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