Who needs a UTR number?
As a self-employed freelancer in the UK you are required to have a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). The number is unique to you and your business, it will never change. A UTR is also needed if you have other forms of income or expenses that require you to file a Self-Assessment tax return.
Should you not yet have a UTR you will be unable to submit your self-assessment tax return and could run the risk of upsetting HMRC. Penalties can be introduced by HMRC for late filing. To help you correctly acquire your UTR number we have some advice from Mike Parkes of GoSimpleTax.
What is a UTR?
A UTR helps HMRC identify and process tax returns against the correct taxpayer’s records.
If you have income outside of PAYE or own a business and don’t act compliantly when it comes to your Self-Assessment tax return, you could face criminal prosecution.
Who would use a UTR?
Any individual with self-employed income or income from rental property probably forms the biggest group that will need a UTR.
These individuals will need to perform a Self-Assessment tax return. For other taxpayers, it may also be relevant when registering for the Construction Industry Scheme or working with an accountant.
How do I get my UTR?
As you won’t receive a UTR number unless you’re registered as either self-employed or a new business, you’ll need to do so on HMRC’s website. Alternatively, you can call them on 0300 200 3310. There is no cost to doing either.
You must register for self-assessment by 5th October in your business’s second tax year. You may be fined if you do not.
To avoid these fines, register as soon as you can with all the below information to hand:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Home address
- Phone number
- National Insurance number
- The date you started self-employment
Double-check that you have fully completed the process if you’re still waiting on your UTR following registration.
What if I’m already registered?
You should already have a UTR code somewhere. If you’ve misplaced it, start by checking any correspondence that you may have received from HMRC. All previous tax returns will reference it, along with any notices you may have had to file a return, payment reminders or statements of account.
In addition, your HMRC online account will also display the code, provided you can access it. If none of these options prove fruitful, contact the Self-Assessment helpline.
More on freelancer tax advice.