Your Company UTR Number: A Simple Guide for Business Owners


Key takeaways

Demystifying the company UTR number

How to obtain your company’s UTR number

Safeguarding and managing your company UTR number

Navigating company tax obligations with your UTR number


Frequently asked questions

Your company UTR number is the key to managing your business taxes efficiently and effectively. Here, we unravel the essentials—finding, obtaining, and using this tax identity cornerstone.

Key Takeaways

  • A Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number is a 10-digit identifier issued by HMRC for tax purposes after company registration with Companies House, being critical for monitoring and collecting taxes.

  • UTR numbers are essential for managing tax obligations and must be securely stored; they help streamline communication with HMRC and are used in various tax services and filings.

  • Companies must use their UTR number for Corporation Tax registration within 3 months of starting operations and for VAT registration, distinguishing it from other identifiers like VAT Registration Numbers.

Demystifying the Company UTR Number

Illustration of a 10-digit UTR number on a document

The Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number, also known as the unique taxpayer reference number, is a unique identifier issued by HMRC to each new limited company, sitting at the heart of tax matters. Playing a crucial role in successful dealings with HMRC, it serves as the company’s identity for tax purposes.

Each company UTR is unique and exclusive to the company it represents. This means that a company UTR number is entirely separate from personal UTR numbers and cannot be used interchangeably. This distinction ensures that each entity, personal or corporate, is treated individually in the eyes of tax law.

The Role of HMRC in Issuing Company UTR Numbers

Following a company’s registration with Companies House, HMRC issues a UTR number. This pivotal element in the company’s financial landscape is integral to the monitoring and collection of various taxes, including corporation tax and VAT.

This monitoring process is instrumental in maintaining a fair and balanced tax system. It ensures that businesses bear their appropriate share of the financial load for the public services that they benefit from.

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Key Features of a Company UTR Number

A company UTR number consists of 10 digits. The first two digits correspond to the tax office that issued it, followed by six unique reference digits, and finally two checksum digits. This number is used exclusively for tax purposes, acting as a unique identifier for companies.

But where do you find this all-important number? Your company’s UTR number can be located on HMRC correspondence, such as previous tax returns or notices to file returns. If it’s not readily available on these documents, you can also check payment reminders, setup emails, or tax reference emails.

How to Obtain Your Company’s UTR Number

Photo of a company registration form from Companies House

The process of obtaining your company’s UTR number is straightforward. Upon your new company’s registration with Companies House, HMRC automatically assigns a UTR number. Integral to tax and administrative purposes, this registration sets off the creation of a UTR number specific to your company.

Following successful registration, HMRC sends the UTR letter to the company’s registered office address of the newly formed company, typically within 14 days of its incorporation. This letter is a significant document, marking the official commencement of your company’s tax journey.

Registering with Companies House

Registering limited companies with Companies House can be done through an online service, by post, or using an agent or third-party software. If you choose the online service, your company is also registered for Corporation Tax simultaneously. Registering online costs £12 and is usually completed within 24 hours, while registration by post using form IN01 costs £40 and takes 8 to 10 days.

Personal information of the directors, such as the town of birth and mother’s maiden name, and administrative details like creating a new Government Gateway user ID for the company are needed for registration. Once the company is successfully registered, a ‘certificate of incorporation’ is issued which confirms its legal existence and includes the company number and formation date. This registration triggers the UTR issuance process based on the accounting reference date and formation documents.

Receiving Your UTR from HMRC

HMRC provides UTR numbers to companies via post. After company formation, the UTR is sent to the registered office address. The UTR number typically arrives within about 10 to 14 days of the business registration with Companies House.

If the UTR is not received, companies can request it online from HMRC. Always remember to keep a keen eye on your mail during this period, as the UTR letter is a vital piece in your company’s tax puzzle.

Safeguarding and Managing Your Company UTR Number

The importance of the UTR number necessitates its safeguarding. It should be securely stored and only shared with individuals or organizations requiring it for legitimate reasons. Managing the UTR involves formulating a clear policy for its secure distribution and storage.

Conduct regular audits of the list of entities with access to your company’s UTR to keep the access current and restricted to those who have a clear need for it. This, along with maintaining the UTR in a secure yet readily accessible manner, ensures effective tax management.

Protecting Your UTR Number

Ensuring the safety of your UTR number involves vigilance and caution. Be wary of unsolicited communications asking for your company UTR number and always verify the legitimacy of the request through official channels before sharing any information.

Secure storage of tax-related documents that contain your UTR number is also crucial. This could involve keeping physical copies in a locked cabinet and electronic copies in encrypted and password-protected files. The UTR number can only be shared with relevant government agencies, trusted accountants, tax advisers, employers, or financial institutions who need to verify a company’s tax status.

Using Your UTR Number for Tax Purposes

Applying your company’s UTR number for tax purposes goes beyond mere referencing on tax forms. It is crucial for the accurate filing of Company Tax Returns, as well as filing corporation tax returns, regardless of whether the company has made a profit or not or owes corporation tax.

The UTR number offers several benefits, including:

  • Streamlining communications with HMRC

  • Enabling quick tracing of a company’s business records

  • Resolving queries efficiently

  • Aiding in audits or inquiries by maintaining both digital and paper records of all tax filings and communications that include the company’s UTR number.

Access to various tax services, such as viewing tax records and managing your self assessment tax return, is made available instantly through the HMRC app or by logging onto a Personal Tax Account using the UTR number. When utilizing the UTR for tax obligations, it is important to consider the accounting period end date and select the proper accounting method (cash or accruals basis) for self assessment tax returns calculations.

Troubleshooting Common UTR-Related Issues

The journey with your UTR number may not always be smooth sailing. Issues may arise, such as UTR numbers becoming inactive if they are not used for an extended period. However, with a proper understanding of these issues, you can navigate through them with ease.

Lost or Misplaced UTR Number

Losing or misplacing your UTR number can be a cause for concern. However, you can retrieve it from the company’s Personal Tax Account or the HMRC app under ‘Your details’ or in the ‘Self Assessment’ section. You could also check previous tax returns, notices to file a return, or payment reminders from HMRC for the lost UTR number.

If online retrieval is not possible, a copy of the UTR number can be requested through the GOV.UK website to be sent by post to the company’s registered office address. Alternatively, you can contact HMRC’s self-assessment helpline to request a UTR number if it cannot be found elsewhere. Remember, for security reasons, HMRC will send it by post and not provide it over the phone or email.

Differentiating Between UTR and Other Tax-Related Numbers

Understanding the difference between a UTR number and other tax-related numbers is crucial for effective tax management. A company’s UTR number is distinct from a VAT Registration Number (VRN), but both are used by HMRC to manage different aspects of taxation. Personal UTRs issued for Self Assessment cannot be used for a company as they are different from company UTR numbers.

A Company Registration Number (CRN) issued by Companies House is a unique identifier for a company and should not be confused with a UTR. Although a company’s UTR number and VAT Registration Number serve different tax purposes, they are both critical for HMRC’s management of a company’s tax affairs.

Navigating Company Tax Obligations with Your UTR Number

Photo of a financial professional assisting a business owner

While navigating through company tax obligations may seem daunting, your company’s UTR number can greatly simplify this process. This number is essential in meeting a range of tax obligations and securing compliance with HMRC regulations.

HMRC uses the UTR number to:

  • Identify the business for tax purposes, such as corporation tax and VAT

  • Keep track of liabilities and payments

  • Recognize overpaid taxes, which could lead to a company receiving a tax refund

By maintaining precise business income and expense records and ensuring accurate tax returns, you can effectively manage your tax obligations and simplify the process of filing tax returns.

Corporation Tax and Your UTR Number

In managing Corporation Tax, your company’s UTR number plays a significant role. The process, which involves the UTR number, requires companies to:

  • Register for Corporation Tax within 3 months of starting business operations

  • Use their Government Gateway user ID to register for Corporation Tax

  • Provide their registration number, the date they started business, and the date their annual accounts are made up to, all crucial steps in paying corporation tax.

A Company Tax Return must be submitted to HMRC using the company’s UTR number, even if the company made losses or has no tax liability. After registering for Corporation Tax, HMRC sends a Corporation Tax activation code and instructions on setting up the company’s online tax services to the company’s registered office address. The UTR number is crucial for HMRC to inform the company of its Corporation Tax payment deadline.

Accountants and financial professionals require the company’s UTR number to assist with corporate tax filings and managing financial affairs.

Registering for VAT Using Your UTR Number

The obligation to register for VAT also involves your UTR number. During VAT registration, a company must provide its UTR number, a necessary step in establishing the business’s identity and tax status with HMRC.

Remember, a UTR number and a VAT Registration Number (VRN) are distinct identifiers. The UTR is used to identify the company for various taxes, while the VRN is a specific 9-digit number for VAT purposes.

By using their UTR to register for VAT, companies can manage their Corporation Tax obligations and VAT compliance concurrently, streamlining their tax affairs across different regimes.


Navigating the tax seas can seem overwhelming, but armed with a clear understanding of your company’s Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number, you can steer your business towards effective tax management. From obtaining your UTR to distinguishing it from other tax-related numbers, protecting it, and using it for various tax obligations, this number is a cornerstone of your company’s financial foundation. Navigate the tax waters with confidence, knowing that your UTR number is your compass, guiding you towards full tax compliance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find my company’s UTR number?

If you’ve signed up to pay tax through HMRC, check any official correspondence from them, such as tax return or payment reminders, for your company’s UTR number. If you can’t find it, you can request it from HMRC, who will send it to your registered business address.

Does a company need a UTR number?

Yes, any company incorporated in the UK, including limited companies and partnerships, requires a UTR number.

How do I find a company’s tax number?

You can find a company’s tax number in its incorporation documents, or by contacting Companies House for the UTR.

Can I get my company UTR number over the phone?

Yes, you can obtain your company’s UTR number over the phone by calling HMRC at 0300 200 3310.

What should I do if I lose my UTR number?

If you lose your UTR number, you can retrieve it from the company’s Personal Tax Account or the HMRC app, or request a copy through the GOV.UK website or by contacting HMRC’s self-assessment helpline for assistance.

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