By Chris Martins D'Almeida on 13th December 2018

What to do if you’ve lost your UTR number

Whether you’re someone who likes to file your annual self-assessment tax return nice and early, or you leave all the scrabbling around until the last minute, there are a number of factors which will impact your ability to file yours with HMRC.

One of these is if you end up losing your UTR number.  Here’s what this means and how to find it if it goes astray.

What to do if you've lost your UTR number

What is a UTR?

Your Unique Taxpayers Reference Number, or UTR, is what identifies you personally with HMRC for all things related to your personal tax obligations. It’s 10 digits in length and is quoted on any correspondence you receive from HMRC, including:

    • Your tax return
    • A Welcome to Self-Assessment letter (SA250)
    • Notice to File a Tax Return
    • Statement of Account
    • Payment Reminders

If it comes to it and you’ve lost your UTR number, or the above correspondence, your best option is to contact HMRC directly. Do this either via their helpline on 0300 200 3310, or alternatively speak to your local tax office.

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What happens next?

You will need to pass a series of security checks to allow HMRC to confirm your identity. Once this has been done they will post your UTR number to you which can take up to 7 days. This is the only way HMRC will send your UTR number to you, so get a move on if it’s approaching the deadline!

Your alternative is to appoint an agent (usually an accountant) to act on your behalf when it comes to your tax affairs. The same security rules apply however, with an agent normally getting your UTR number from you at the point you sign up for their service. There is a dedicated number at HMRC they can call if you have definitely lost your UTR number.  Agents will have to have formal authorisation from you and can therefore pass the security checks.  Again, the UTR number will be confirmed in writing by post, so allow 7 days.

Getting a copy of your company UTR

Don’t forget that your personal Unique Tax Reference is only relevant to your personal tax affairs as an individual.

For anything pertaining to your company, such as your Corporation Tax return, you will need your company UTR.

You can request this from HMRC here.

You will need your company registration number and registered company name, and make sure you enter them accurately.

Once you have requested it, HMRC will send a copy of your company UTR by post to the registered address as shown on Companies House.

If you have closed or dissolved your company, or if it is no longer on the Companies House Register for any other reason, you will not be able to request a copy of the UTR.

UTR numbers –  FAQs

How do you get a UTR number?

You are issued with a Unique Tax Reference when you register with HMRC for self-assessment. If you can’t find yours, you should contact HMRC by phone on 0300 200 3310. Bear in mind that HMRC lines are frequently busy so you may spend a while on hold. You should also have means to confirm your identity when you do get through.

How long does it take to get a UTR number from HMRC?

HMRC only issues UTR numbers by post, you should expect to wait approximately 4 weeks, but this can take longer in the run up to the self-assessment deadline and the end of the tax year.

 How can I contact HMRC?

If you have a query about your UTR, or can’t find it, you should call 0300 200 3310. A list of HMRC contact details for a range of enquiries is available here.

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This article was originally published on 20th January 2013 and updated on 13th December 2018.


Written by Chris Martins D'Almeida
Disclaimer Although we attempt to ensure that the Information contained in this publication is accurate and up-to-date at the date of publication it may not be comprehensive, we accept no liability for the results of any action taken on the basis of the information they contain and any implied warranties, including but not limited to the implied warranties of satisfactory quality, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement and accuracy are excluded to the extent that they may be excluded as a matter of law.

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