UTR stands for Unique Taxpayer Reference. The government uses your UTR number as a means of keeping track of you for tax purposes.
They can’t use your name for this, as lots of people might share the same name. Nor can they use your date of birth, for the same reason. And they can’t use your address, as this changes too often.
What is a UTR Number?
A UTR number is a string of 10 numbers that they assign to you and only you. This means that, rather than looking up multiple records to find out who you are, the government can simply look up a single number and know immediately just what’s going on with you and your taxes.
When you register as self-employed, you’re essentially telling the government who you are and what you’re doing. This way, the government will know how much to tax you ever year.
How to Get a UTR Number
You’ll get your UTR number when you register as self-employed. One week or so after you do this, HMRC will send you your UTR by post. They’ll also set up your online HMRC account, and give you instructions on how to use it.
To register as self-employed, just head to the government’s online registration portal. You’ll just have to enter your email address, and follow any instructions that appear onscreen.
Head here to read our full guide to registering as self-employed.
I’ve Lost My UTR Number! Where Can I Find It?
Lost your UTR number? Don’t worry. There are many ways you can find it yourself from information you already have. It will usually appear on any official letters or document HMRC send you relating to tax issues.
- Look for any communications from the government. Your UTR will be listed on any letters or documents the government might send you about your tax affairs. This could include pay notices, tax submission receipts, and payslips. Your UTR never changes. So even if the only document you can find is a scrap of paper from years ago, you can rest assured that the UTR listed will be the right one.
- Access your government gateway account. You should be able to find your UTR number in the self-assessment section of your online account. Head here to log in. Of course, to sign in, you’ll need to know your government gateway user ID, and your password. Luckily, if you’ve forgotten these, you’ll find ways to retrieve them on the sign-in page.
- Call HMRC. If all else fails, you can request your UTR number from HMRC by calling them on 030 0200 3310. You might need certain identification details to hand when you do this, such as your national insurance number.
What Else Do You Need as a Self-Employed Person?
Tax is one of life’s certainties. If you’re self-employed, you will have to pay tax. This means you will need a UTR number. Luckily, this isn’t something you’ll have to sort out yourself. You’ll automatically receive your UTR from the government when you first register your business.
But some things you will have to arrange for yourself, and they’re every bit as vital as taxes. The big one is insurance. Affordable and flexible insurance will cover you against many eventualities, from personal injury to unavoidable interruption. This way, no matter what happens, you can rest assured that everything will be taken care of. With good insurance cover, you can emerge from any crisis much stronger than you were before.
We offer specialist insurance cover tailored to suit the needs of self-employed people. Our cover starts at 35p a day with no hidden fees, and you can get a free quote online in minutes.