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UTR number

  • 2 min read

A Unique Taxpayer Reference number (usually called a UTR number) is a ten-digit code that HMRC uses to identify you. Once you’ve been sent one once, this number will not change. You’ll be asked for your UTR if you file a tax return, you need to claim certain benefits and sometimes when you speak to HMRC.

Is there more than one type of UTR number?

Yes. There are three main types to be aware of. They vary depending on the type of business you have:

  • Individual UTR (like a sole trader)
  • Partnership UTR
  • Corporation UTR

Why do I need a UTR?

Before you file a tax return, you have to let HMRC know that you’re earning untaxed income. To do this, you have to register for Self Assessment online. This needs to be done by 5th October the tax year after you’ve earned money. 

Example: you launch your copywriting business in May 2023. This is the 2023/24 tax year (6th April 2023 – 5th April 2024). You register for your UTR number online by 5th October 2024 and pay your tax bill by 31st January 2025. 

How do I get a UTR?

We’ve got a detailed article (with videos and everything!) on what you need to do to get a UTR. Give it a read here – How to get my UTR number.

As a summary though, you can apply for your UTR number online with HMRC directly.

How long does it take to get a UTR number?

Once you apply for a new UTR number, you’ll usually get one within 10 working days. But don’t forget that it doesn’t end here! If it’s your first time applying for Self Assessment, you will also have to activate it. To do this, you need an activation code. This takes a further week to arrive so make sure you apply for one as soon as you get your UTR number in the post.

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