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How to get my UTR number?

  • 2 min read
  • Last updated 5 Apr 2022

Your UTR number is something that HMRC use to identify you as a taxpayer. UTR stands for Unique Taxpayer Reference number. HMRC send you a UTR number when you register for Self Assessment (basically, when you declare to HMRC that you’re earning untaxed income). Here are some of the scenarios when you might need to file a tax return:

  • Self-employed
  • Investor (shares, crypto, property etc.)
  • You earn over £100k
  • Construction worker
  • Landlord
  • You’re employed but have a side hustle

Once you’re sent your UTR number, it will never change. So if you lose it – and don’t worry, it happens to the best of us 😅 – you’ll be re-sent the same number. 

What does a UTR look like?

UTR numbers are ten digits long and they sometimes have the letter K at the end. When you pay your tax bill by bank transfer, you have to add a K to the end of your UTR to use it as the payment reference. (Fun fact.) 

OK – how do I get my UTR number?

Here’s what you’ll have to do – and be aware that once you get your UTR number sent, there’s more. It needs to be activated as well so don’t forget to follow all five of these steps:

  1. Register for HMRC’s online service – make sure you have these bits to hand 👇
    • National Insurance number
    • Home address 
    • The date you launched your self-employed business
    • Business address and phone number
  2. HMRC send your UTR number in the post (usually takes ~ 1 week)
  3. Enrol for Self Assessment
  4. HMRC will send your UTR activation code in the post (also usually takes ~ 1 week)
  5. Activate your account to access Self Assessment 
    • You have 28 days to use it before it expires

I think I lost my UTR – where do I find it?

If you’re not a first timer and you’ve previously registered for Self Assessment, here’s where you can find your UTR number:

  1. Front page of previous tax returns
  2. Self Assessment documents that HMRC has sent you (notices to file a return, payment reminders, etc.)
  3. Your HMRC online account under the Self Assessment section

When will I need my UTR number?

  • Filing a Self Assessment tax return, either by yourself or through an accountant (including TaxScouts)
  • When you claim a tax relief or benefit
  • When you contact HMRC
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