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How to Apply for UTR Number in the UK?

Are you a UK resident looking to navigate the complex world of taxes and ensure compliance with HMRC? Then you’ve probably come across the term UTR number. But what exactly is a UTR number, who needs it, and how can you apply for one? In this blog post, we’ll demystify the process and provide you with all the information you need to know about applying for a UTR number in the UK. So, grab your pen and paper (or open up your digital notes) as we dive into this essential topic!

What is a UTR Number?

What is a UTR Number?

A UTR number, also known as a Unique Taxpayer Reference, is a 10-digit code issued by HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) in the UK. This unique identifier is assigned to individuals or entities who need to pay taxes or engage in self-assessment for income tax purposes.

Think of your UTR number as your personal tax ID – it distinguishes you from other taxpayers and helps HMRC keep track of your financial activities. Having a UTR number is essential whether you’re self-employed, earning income from investments, or receiving rental income.

But why is it called a “Unique” Taxpayer Reference? Well, that’s because each individual taxpayer has their own distinct code. No two UTR numbers are the same, ensuring accuracy and avoiding confusion within the tax system.

Your UTR number will remain with you throughout your life as long as you have ongoing tax obligations. Keeping this number safe and secure is crucial since it’ll be required whenever you communicate with HMRC regarding your taxes.

Who Needs a UTR Number From HMRC?

A Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is essential for individuals who need to interact with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the UK. While it is commonly associated with self-employed individuals, there are other situations where having a UTR number becomes necessary.

If you are self-employed as a sole trader or in a partnership, you will need a UTR number. This unique identifier allows HMRC to track your tax obligations and ensure you pay the right income tax and National Insurance contributions.

Additionally, suppose you receive income from sources such as renting out property, investing dividends, or savings interest exceeding the Personal Savings Allowance threshold. In that case, you will also require a UTR number. This applies even if your total income remains below the taxable limit.

Furthermore, non-resident individuals who have UK tax liabilities or claim relief under Double Taxation Agreements may also need to apply for a UTR number.

Requirements to Apply for UTR Number

Requirements to Apply for UTR Number

Applying for a UTR number in the UK is a straightforward process, but there are certain requirements that you need to meet. Here are the key things you will need in order to apply for a UTR number:

Personal Details: You will be required to provide your personal information, such as your full name, date of birth, and National Insurance number.

Contact Information: It is important to provide accurate contact details, including your address and phone number, so HMRC can reach out to you if needed.

Employment Status: You must clearly state whether you are self-employed, employed, or both. This will help determine the type of tax return forms you need to fill out.

Business Information (if applicable): If you are self-employed or running a business, you will need to provide details about your business activities, such as its name, nature of work, and start date.

Income Details: You may also be asked about your income sources and expected earnings for the upcoming tax year.

Previous Tax History: It is important to disclose any previous involvement with HMRC or any outstanding tax liabilities from previous years.

By ensuring that all these requirements are met when applying for a UTR number, you can ensure a smooth process without unnecessary delays or complications.

How to Apply for UTR Number in the UK?

Applying for a UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) number in the UK is essential for individuals who need to file self-assessment tax or engage in other tax-related activities. Here are the steps to apply for a UTR number:

Register for Self-Assessment: Begin by registering for Self-Assessment with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You can do this online by visiting the HMRC website and following the instructions for new registrations.

Gather Required Information: Before applying, make sure you have the following information at hand:

  • Personal details: Full name, date of birth, National Insurance number, and contact information.
  • National Insurance Number: This is crucial for the UTR application process.
  • Contact details: Your current address, telephone number, and email address.
  • Business details (if applicable): If you’re self-employed or running a business, gather relevant details such as the nature of your business, start date, expected annual turnover, and business address.

Complete the Application: Once registered for Self-Assessment, you’ll receive a letter within ten working days containing your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number. If you haven’t received the letter after this period, you can contact HMRC directly for assistance.

Complete the Application

Confirm Registration for Self-Assessment: After receiving your UTR number, you need to activate your Self-Assessment registration online within 28 days. Failure to do so may result in delays or complications for your tax affairs.

Keep the UTR Number Safe: Ensure you keep a secure record of your UTR number, as it will be necessary for all future tax-related interactions with HMRC.

It’s worth noting that the process may take several weeks to complete if you’re registering for Self-Assessment for the first time. Therefore, it’s advisable to apply well in advance of any tax deadlines to avoid any last-minute complications.

How Long Does It Take to Get a UTR Number?

When it comes to getting a UTR number in the UK, one question that often arises is: How long does it take?

The first factor is how you choose to apply for your UTR number. If you decide to apply online via HMRC’s website, the process can be quite quick and efficient. Generally, you can expect to receive your UTR number within 15 working days of submitting your application. However, keep in mind that during busy periods or if there are any issues with your application, it may take longer.

On the other hand, if you choose to apply by post or through an accountant or tax agent, the processing time may be slightly longer. It can take up to 21 days for HMRC to issue your UTR number in these cases.

It’s important to note that while waiting for your UTR number, you should refrain from starting any self-employed work or declaring income until you have received it.


We hope that this guide has been helpful in outlining the process of applying for a UTR number in the UK. Applying for your UTR number is an important step when starting out as a self-employed individual, as it will ensure you are properly registered with HMRC and simplify tax time. With these steps, anyone can apply for their UTR number without hassle or difficulty.

FAQ – How to Apply for UTR Number in the UK?

FAQ - How to Apply for UTR Number in the UK?

Can anyone apply for a UTR number?

The answer is yes, but only if you meet some specific criteria. The UTR number, also known as the Unique Taxpayer Reference, is issued by HMRC to individuals who need to pay taxes or file tax returns in the UK.

To be eligible for a UTR number, you must have some form of income that requires you to register with HMRC. This includes self-employment income, rental income from properties, or earnings from investments and savings above a certain threshold.

You may not need one if you are not self-employed and do not fall under any other category requiring a UTR number. However, it’s always best to check with HMRC or seek advice from a professional accountant to ensure compliance with tax regulations.

How do I get my UTR if I am not self-employed?

If you’re not self-employed but still need a UTR number, don’t worry! You can obtain your UTR through HMRC by following a few simple steps.

Determine the reason why you need a UTR number. Are you starting a business or becoming a company director? Or perhaps you’re receiving income from rental properties or investments? Understanding the purpose will help streamline the application process.

Once you’ve identified the reason, gather all necessary documents, such as your National Insurance number and relevant identification documents. These will be required to verify your identity during the application process.

Next, head over to the HMRC website and navigate to their registration page. Complete the online form accurately with all requested information. Ensure that details like your name, address, and contact information are correct before submitting.

Can I work self-employed without a UTR?

Can I work self-employed without a UTR? Many people wonder if working as self-employed without a UTR number from HMRC is possible. The answer is technically yes. You can work as self-employed without a UTR number if your income is under £1,000. However, there are important considerations and implications to keep in mind.

While it may be possible to start working as self-employed without a UTR number, it is essential to understand that you still have tax obligations. Without a UTR number, you won’t be able to file your Self-assessment tax returns or pay the appropriate amount of tax on your earnings.

How much tax will I pay without a UTR number?

When it comes to paying taxes in the UK, having a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is essential. Without a UTR number, you could face some challenges when it comes to fulfilling your tax obligations.

The amount of tax you will pay without a UTR number can vary depending on several factors. If you are self-employed or earning income through other means, not having a UTR number may result in higher tax deductions of 20 % from your earnings. This is because HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) won’t have accurate information about your income and, therefore, cannot apply the appropriate tax rates.

Do I need a UTR if I earn under 1000?

If you earn less than £1,000 in a tax year and your income is from self-employment or being a sole trader, you may not need to register for a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

 However, it’s important to note that the UTR is used for various tax purposes, so if there is any chance that your income might exceed £1,000 in the future or if you have other tax obligations, it would be wise to register for a UTR. It’s always best to consult with a tax professional or contact HMRC directly to get personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.


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