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The deadline for filing self-assessment tax returns for the 2018/19 tax year is swiftly approaching on 31st January. If you haven’t acted yet, you need to give yourself time to complete the forms, grab your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number and file your return online. Here’s what to do if you’re faced with a lost UTR number.

What is a UTR?

A UTR is a unique number assigned to you by HMRC to identify you with regards to personal tax matters. It’s 10 digits long and will be quoted on all HMRC correspondence you receive – usually on the top right corner of HMRC letters.

When you register to file a self-assessment, whether as a landlord, sole trader or director of a limited company, you will receive a UTR number. You need to keep this safe as you need it to file your tax return by 31st January following the end of the tax year.

I’ve lost my UTR number– what do I do?

Its crunch time – so for a lost UTR number you need to act quickly in order to avoid late filing penalties. Remember, HMRC will apply an instant £100 penalty to anyone who files past the 31st January deadline at midnight. And no, a lost UTR is not a good enough excuse to be exempt from the penalty.

If you can’t find any documents or previous tax returns from HMRC that indicate your UTR number, you need to call the self-assessment helpline to request your UTR. HMRC also has a support Twitter account (@HMRCcustomers), but this is for general queries only and they will simply redirect you to the above options to request your UTR.

For a lost UTR number, contacting HMRC may be a lengthy process since it’s a busy time, so make sure you’re prepared to wait in the queue for an advisor. Once you get through to an HMRC advisor, the following will happen:

  • You’ll need to pass a series of security checks so they can identify you
  • HMRC will post a document containing your UTR to you – this can take up to 7 days

Of course if it’s 25th January and you’ve lost your UTR number, you will most likely be late in filing since it is within the seven day period. Even if you have appointed an accountant to complete your self-assessment on your behalf, they would also have to wait 7 days to receive the UTR number in the post.

I have never filed a self-assessment/I never received a UTR number

To get a UTR number you first need to register for your self-assessment tax return on HMRC’s website.

You can check if you need to file one by using this tool. If you met the criteria in the 2018/19 tax year you will need to file a 2018/19 self-assessment.

Once you’ve registered, you should receive a letter within 10 working days with an activation code for your online account and your UTR number. You will need to use your online account to file and pay your self-assessment bill.

Self-assessment filing with Bluebird Accountancy

All Bluebird Accountancy clients get access to their own FreeAgent account for their business. With FreeAgent’s revolutionary software you can instantly see the personal tax you will owe based on figures submitted throughout the year. It will even support you through to the filing process. Plus if you have any questions, a Bluebird accountant can help.

Take a look at FreeAgent’s helpful video: How to file your Self Assessment through FreeAgent.

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