An important step often missed by “first-time” self assessment tax return filers is actually registering with HMRC. To be able to submit your return you need a ‘unique taxpayer reference’ or UTR number. HMRC says it can take up to 10 working days to receive your UTR number. Tax payers who have previously sent self-assessment tax returns will already have a UTR number and won’t need to register for a new one. 

So what is a UTR number is, and who needs to register for one. 

Your UTR number is a unique number registered to an individual and issued by HMRC. It is used as your ID for all items related to self assessment. Think of it like a National Insurance number except for self assessment. It’s 10 digits long and sometimes has a letter ‘K’ at the end. When submitting a tax return for the first time, you should register with HMRC as soon as possible to let them know to expect your tax return. Technically, the registration deadline was 5 October 2019 to declare income for the 2018-19 tax year. But if you haven’t already registered, you can still request one or we can carry this out on your behalf. 

Can I submit a tax return without a UTR number? 

HMRC require a UTR number to accept a tax return. Therefore without one it is impossible to submit a return. . And do not try to guess it as getting it wrong could result in a fine. HMRC can fine you if it thinks your tax return has been filled out carelessly, and incorrect UTR numbers are one of the most common mistakes made each year. 
If you’re not sure what your UTR number is, contact us and we can help you. 

What if I miss the tax return deadline? 

HMRC must receive your online tax return by midnight on 31 January. If you miss the deadline, you will automatically be charged £100. Fines then increase the further past the deadline that you submit your return. If you miss the 31 January deadline for submitting your tax return, you’ll also miss the payment deadline – which is also on 31 January. Late payment charges are in addition to fines for late submissions. This will also result in interest charges from 31 January on the overdue amount. If you still haven’t paid after 90 days, the charges can increase by up to £10 a day or 5% of the tax due. 
Need advice on business tax, call the team at Holmes and Company on 01525 851101 or contact us here 
Tagged as: Administration, Tax, Tax Tips
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