How do I get my Unique Tax Reference?

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When you formed your new limited company, you will have received a company’s Unique Tax Reference (UTR) from HMRC. This reference is used to identify your company for tax-related purposes. You will have been sent a letter confirming this specific ten-digit reference number and guidance on your tax responsibilities to your registered company address.

But what if you can’t find your Unique Tax Reference number? Here we explain how you can get your company’s Unique Tax Reference number and why it’s important for your business.

What is a Unique Tax Reference number (UTR)?

A Unique Tax Reference is a ten-digit number that’s entirely unique to every UK taxpayer. It is primarily required for filing self-assessment tax returns. However, it’s also needed to work with business financial advisors, accountants, and construction industry scheme tax refund registration.

How do I get a company Unique Tax Reference?

When you register your company with Companies House, HMRC is automatically notified about your company’s existence. Within 14 days of registering your company, you will receive a letter from HMRC with your company’s unique taxpayer reference printed next to either UTR, tax reference or official use. You should also find this reference number on other statutory communication you receive from HMRC. For example, your:

  • SA250 or welcome to self-assessment letter
  • Reminders of payment
  • Previous self-assessment tax returns
  • Notice to file a return
  • Statement of accounts

You can also find your reference number on your account on the HMRC website. Your company Unique Tax Reference should not be confused with the personal Unique Tax Reference number that people receive when they register for self-assessment.

What is a Unique Tax Reference for?

Your Unique Tax Reference is tremendously important. This unique number will enable you to register for Corporation Tax, allow you to file your company’s tax returns and pay your corporation tax. The letter you receive from HMRC that includes your Unique Tax Reference explains your business tax obligations and what information you need to know when your company begins trading.

You need to provide your company’s Unique Tax Reference number for:

  • Contacting HMRC for any business-related issues
  • Changing your corporation tax accounting period
  • Registration for PAYE, VAT and corporation tax
  • Filing your VAT and tax returns
  • Paying your corporation VAT and tax
  • Notifying HMRC about changes to your business structure or registration details
  • Notifying HMRC that your company is dormant
  • Paying your employees

How do I notify HMRC that my business is active?

Within three months of starting trading or conducting any business activity, you need to use your Unique Taxpayer Reference to register as active with HMRC. You can do this by using HMRC’s online registration facility. To do this, you will need your ten-digit Unique Reference number, your Government Gateway user ID and your password. You can also choose to apply by post. Your letter must be signed by the company secretary or director and include the following:

  • Company name
  • Company registration number
  • Registered company address
  • Name and address of company directors
  • Type of business activities undertaken
  • Date the business began trading
  • Date your company’s annual accounts are made up to
  • Notification of appointing a tax advisor or accountant to deal with your business’s tax concerns

This information allows HMRC to determine your accounting period and deadlines for paying Corporation Tax and submitting your company tax returns. If your company is inactive, you should notify your local Corporation Tax office.

Corporation Tax is usually paid electronically within nine months and one day following the end of each of your accounting periods. You should submit your Company Tax Return online no later than 12 months after the end of each accounting period. Your Unique Tax Reference number is required for these tasks.

What should I do if I cannot find my company’s Unique Tax Reference number?

If you’ve lost your Unique Tax Reference number, don’t worry — you should be able to find it on your documentation from HMRC. You can also request a copy of your reference number online from the HMRC. They will send it to you by post to your company’s registered address. However, to start this process, you will need to know your registered company name and company registration number before you begin.

Your Unique Tax Reference number is unique to you. Therefore, you must keep it safe to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

Can I use my personal Unique Tax Reference number for my company?

You cannot use your personal Unique Tax Reference number for your company. Personal Unique Tax Reference numbers are issued to anyone registered for self-assessment, and they are completey different to the Unique Tax Reference numbers given to businesses.

When your company formation application is approved, your company exists as a separate legal entity. Therefore, it requires its very own Unique Tax Reference. You should only use your personal Unique Tax Reference number when you file your Self-Assessment tax returns and pay your National Insurance contributions and Income Tax on your individual income.

Other important company numbers

When you set up a company, you’ll be assigned several different reference numbers with a different purpose. Your Unique Tax Reference number shouldn’t be confused with any of these other numbers.

Company Registration Number

Your Company Registration Number is given to you when you register with Companies House. This number contains eight numbers or two letters and six digits. It is to identify your company and not the same as your Unique Tax Reference. You can find your Company Registration Number on your Certificate of Incorporation or with your registered company details on the Companies House website.

VAT number

HMRC will give you a Value Added Tax (VAT) number when you register for VAT. These numbers typically have GB as a prefix and nine digits. It is a different number from that of your Unique Tax Reference.

Construction Industry Scheme

If you are a contractor and register for the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), you will receive a CIS number that enables you to deduct tax from your earnings, similar to PAYE. You will need a Unique Tax Reference as you will need to complete a self-assessment.

Your Unique Tax Reference number is one of the most important numbers issued to you over the lifetime of your business. Make sure you keep it in a safe place so you always have it when you need it, and it won’t fall into the wrong hands. If you can’t find your Unique Tax Reference, all is not lost. Simply refer back to your previous correspondence from HMRC or check their website to find out how you can get a copy of it.

If you need help registering a limited company, Uniwide Formations can advise you on the process. We know that each business is different, so we offer a range of company formation packages to best suit your needs. For more information about our services and how we can help your business, you are welcome to contact us.

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