When you form a company, HMRC will be notified shortly after by Companies House. They will then issue a unique tax reference (UTR) for your new company, so there is no need to apply for a UTR yourself. HMRC will enter your company’s details onto their database and send out a letter with your tax reference. It is a 10-digit number and is sometimes referred to as a ‘corporation tax reference’.
Where to find your unique tax reference
The unique tax reference will be printed next to a heading like ‘Official Use’, ‘Tax reference’ or ‘UTR’. You will also find this number on most other forms of statutory communication from HMRC, including the Notice to Deliver a Company Tax Return. Please do not confuse your Company UTR with the personal UTR that is issued to individuals upon registering for Self Assessment.
The purpose of your unique tax reference
The UTR is an extremely important number because you will require it to register your company for corporation tax, file Company Tax Returns, and pay corporation tax online. The initial letter that contains your UTR will explain your company’s tax obligations and the information you will be required to submit when your company begins trading.
Company information required by HMRC
Within 3 months of carrying on any kind of business activity or receiving any form of income, you must register your company with HMRC as ‘active’ for corporation tax purposes. At this time, you should provide the following information to HMRC:
- Company name and registration number (CRN).
- Start date of trading activities (this will determine the start date of your first corporation tax accounting period).
- Principal address where business activities are carried out. This may or may not be your registered office address.
- Principal business activities carried out by your company. You will require a SIC code for this part.
- Date you will make your company’s annual accounts up to. This is known as the ‘accounting reference date’ (ARD), and it will likely fall on the anniversary of the last day of the month of company formation.
- Notification if you have taken over an existing business or are part of a group.
- Details of all company directors (full name, home address, NI number).
- Notification of appointing an agent (accountant or tax advisor) to deal with your company’s tax affairs, if applicable.
Shortly after submitting this information, HMRC will send another letter to your registered office confirming the deadlines for paying corporation tax and delivering Company Tax Returns.
Generally, corporation tax should be paid electronically within 9 months and 1 day after the end of each accounting period. The tax return should be submitted online no later than 12 months after the end of each accounting period. And remember, you will need your UTR to complete these tasks.