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Registering a company

What is a Sole Trader UTR?

A Unique Taxpayer Reference (or UTR) number is a ten-digit code that’s unique to you and will remain the same number throughout your life.

It identifies you with HMRC for anything to do with your tax obligations. It provides them with an easy way to match and monitor records to payments. You could also get a tax refund if you’ve overpaid any tax.

You’ll need your UTR number to complete Self Assessment Tax Returns.

Once your business is registered at HMRC your UTR number is posted directly to your address usually in 3 to 4 weeks but it can take longer (up to 8) depending on how busy they are.

Do I need a UTR number if I’m a sole trader but not earning above the tax threshold?

If you are registered as sole trader with HMRC you will have been issued with a UTR and typically need to file a self-assessment even if you have not met the threshold. This is to keep your tax records up to date.

If you are not officially registered as a sole trader and are below the tax threshold you might still need a UTR number for filing self-assessment. To ensure everything is correctly recorded with HMRC you may need to report income received through sources such as rental income, income from savings and investments, or freelance income. It’s best to check with an accountant.

How do I apply for a Sole Trader UTR?

To apply for a UTR number, you need to register as a sole trader with HMRC. This can also be done for you here.

How long does it take to receive a UTR number after registering as a sole trader?

You can check if you have a UTR by logging into your personal tax account around 10 days after registering, log in here:

OR Download the app from:

It usually takes about 3 to 4 weeks to receive your UTR number by post after registering with HMRC, but it can take longer during busy periods.

Can I start trading as a sole trader without a UTR number?

Yes, you can start trading as a sole trader without a UTR number, but you should apply for one as soon as possible. You’ll need the UTR number to stay compliant with HMRC and to file your self-assessment. You may also be requested to provide your UTR to work with certain companies.

How can I view my company UTR online if I don’t have access to my company documents?

You can view your UTR by logging into your government gateway account (personal tax account). You can log in here:

OR Download the app from:

Can I use my Sole Trader UTR for multiple businesses?

Yes, as a sole trader, you use the same UTR number for all your different sources of income. Your UTR number is linked to you as an individual and is about your personal tax, not connected to your business.

Is a Sole Trader UTR different from a Limited Company UTR?

Yes, they are different. A limited company is classed as its own separate entity and will have its own UTR for tax filing purposes. The UTR is automatically issued after registration with Companies House and takes around 2 weeks.

An individual running a LTD will still need to apply to HMRC for a personal UTR to file self-assessment to report income received from the LTD company.

An individual operating as a sole trader, not connected to a LTD company, will need to apply for their own UTR.

What happens if I lose my Sole Trader UTR number?

If you lose your UTR number, you should contact HMRC directly. They can provide you with the number after verifying your identity.

What should I do if my personal details change after receiving my UTR number?

If your personal details change (like your address), you should tell HMRC as soon as possible. You can do this via your online tax account. Please can you check if you have a UTR by logging into your personal tax account using your APP or this link

How is the UTR number used in filing taxes for a sole trader?

The UTR number is used to identify your tax records with HMRC. You’ll need this number when filing your Self-Assessment tax returns, ensuring that your tax information is correctly recorded.

Are there any penalties for not using or disclosing my UTR number?

Failing to use or disclose your UTR number when required can lead to issues with HMRC, including potential fines or penalties, especially if it results in incorrect tax filings.

Why does my employer need my UTR number before they can pay me?

The UTR number allows employers to report your income and deductions. Many company policies will request that you provide your UTR before you can begin working for them.

Why does my company bank ask for a UTR number and what do they use it for?

The bank may request your UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) number due to policy and compliance regulations.  It’s a standard practice and helps them identify your account against tax records to assist with accurate reporting to HMRC.

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