What to do if you don't have a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)

UTR stands for Unique Taxpayer Reference. It's a unique 10-digit number that identifies you to HMRC. It's sometimes referred to as a "Tax Number".

Everyone who needs to submit a self-assessment tax return should have a UTR – so that includes most people who are self-employed and who rent out property.

The UTR is they key to being able to making filings with HMRC. It's an important reference. This article covers what to do if you don't know your UTR, if you've lost your UTR or if you've never had a UTR.

Your UTR is assigned automatically by HMRC when you register for Self Assessment. Once you get your UTR it usually stays with you for life!

Most importantly, you cannot submit a tax return without a UTR. If you don't have a UTR, or don't know your UTR it could cause a delay filing your tax return, and if this means you miss the 31 January 2022 filing deadline, you could be landed with a penalty!

Not sure if you have a UTR?

If you're already registered with HMRC, you'll find your UTR in one of the following places:

  • In your HMRC Personal tax account
  • In the Profile section of untied, under HMRC details (if you've saved it here)
  • On your 'welcome to Self Assessment' letter (SA250)
  • On your Self Assessment tax return
  • On a notice to file a tax return from HMRC
  • On any 'Statement of Account' or payment reminder from HMRC

Help! I've lost my UTR, or I've forgotten my UTR!

If you don't know your UTR, you can use untied's service to ask for a reminder of your UTR. It's free if you're a paid untied user.

How to check your UTR format

If you think you remember your UTR but want to check the format is correct, you can use untied's UTR checker here.

Top Tip – once you've got your UTR, save it in your untied profile (under HMRC details) so that it's always handy in future!

If you're not yet registered for a UTR with HMRC

If you're not yet registered with HMRC, and you started in self-employment on or before 5 April 2024, and you earned more than £1,000 from this activity in the last tax year, then you need to get registered sharpish! You can register for a UTR with untied or directly with HMRC. You'll then get a UTR sent to you in the post, usually within 2-8 weeks (but it can sometimes take much longer).

If you started self-employment after 5 April 2024, you don't need to submit a tax return this year (unless there's some other reason) - so you don't need to panic. Just make sure you are registered with HMRC by 5 October 2025 - and again you can register with HMRC via untied here. It's free if you already have a paid untied account.

What happens if I’ve registered as self-employed but haven't received my UTR?

If you've recently registered with HMRC as self-employed but not yet received your UTR, then unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for HMRC to complete your application before you get your number. This number will come to you in the post. It typically takes between two and eight weeks, but can sometimes take much longer.

We’d suggest you wait at least four weeks before chasing this up with HMRC. The best way to chase this up is by telephone to HMRC on 0300 2003310 or 0300 2003500. Call and explain you’ve applied for a UTR number but not yet received this. HMRC should be able to give you an update on the status of your application and an estimate of how much longer it will take to be issued.

Our research suggests that early morning phone calls to HMRC tend to get answered quicker!

HMRC normally expect you to apply for a UTR by 5 October if you need to file in the following January – but even if you miss the October deadline you can still apply. Our advice is apply for your UTR as early as possible so that you have this well before the 31st January tax return deadline.

If you earn less than £1,000 a year from a side-hustle

The good news is that if you earn less than £1,000 a year from being self-employed, then you don't need to register with HMRC or submit a tax return (unless there's some other reason for you to do this).

If you need help with registering or finding a UTR then email untied. And remember, our UTR registration and reminders are free to our paid users of both untied lite and untied Pro plans at www.untied.io.

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