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No UTR? A guide to your options

13th Jan 2010
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Our summary article looks at all of the issues relating to taxpayers without a UTR and sets out your best course of action for a range of situations

Self employed taxpayer

In the case of a self employed taxpayer without a UTR it is likely that he has a failure to notify issue. If the taxable source had been notified on CWF1 (send to Longbenton) by 5 October as required it is likely that the UTR would have been issued by now. The UTR fast track facility will not operate this year (more details on this below).

So : Step 1 is to calculate the tax due and ensure that this is paid by the end of January. This ensures that the failure to notify penalty, which is tax geared, is zero. Payment without a UTR should be made using a downloadable payslip (SA361) which you should complete with "New Customer" in the tax reference box, with name, National Insurance number and address on the reverse and the cheque. This amount will initially be held in suspense. Remember that a penalty may also apply to late registration for Class 2 NIC.

Step 2 is to file a return. The return is not late filed as if no request for a return has been issued (otherwise a UTR would be available. The taxpayer has three months to submit the return from the date of the request, which puts us well beyond January. The best course of action is to hold the return until the UTR has been issued because it can then be filed online. Without a UTR it is inevitable that this would complicate processing a paper return which then risks getting lost.

Other individual taxpayers

If there is untaxed income and therefore a return is mandatory then the taxpayer is in the same position as a self employed individual so follow the steps above. Notification is on form SA1 which must also be submitted to Longbenton. There will be no Class 2 penalty as this does not apply.

Some other taxpayers may wish to submit a return to obtain a repayment. This is often not the best way of going about it but if you consider that this is the only appropriate way to resolve the issue you will need to wait for a UTR to proceed.


Partnerships need a UTR for the firm and a UTR for each partner in order to file online. Last year HMRC allowed a substitute UTR for partners without a valid UTR but this facility is not available this year. Here are the steps you should take :

(a) UK resident individuals with income from an overseas partnership will need to return their share of the income for the partnership on their own return. The partnership will not have a UTR as it is not a UK entity - nor would a UTR be issued unless there was a UK tax presence. The partner should enter his own UTR on the partnership page of his return, instead of the firm's UTR as requested by the form.

(b) Where a UK trading partnership has not been able to obtain a UTR for a non resident partner the return must be made on paper. Attach a reasonable excuse form and file by 31 January and HMRC will accept that there is a reasonable excuse for failure to file by 31 October 2009.

(c) UK investment partnerships with non UK resident investors are subject to special rules. HMRC has agreed with the British Venture Capital Association (on behalf of investment partnerships in the UK) that the requirement for them to report all investor UTR's on their partnership returns is problematical, as often the rules of the partnership do not require overseas investors to register with HMRC. There is a specific work-around only intended for this sector which will entail submitting paper returns direct to the Large and Complex Partnerships Unit. More information about the process, including the address for paper returns is given on this HMRC page. If such partnerships have already filed returns with missing UTR's, these will be returned and the member responsible for filing the return given a discretionary period of 28 days to follow the special process before penalties are imposed.

HMRC work arounds (2009)

Two measures were put in place in January 2009 to allow those without UTR's to make a return online. First the fast track UTR facility promised speedy replies to requests for UTR's, and secondly partnerships were permitted to use a dummy UTR - 99999 99999 for partners without a UTR.

Feedback early in 2009 suggested that the Fast Track process, although appreciated, needed re-designing and more resources devoted to it. HMRC has decided that as there is no special need for returns to be filed by the end of January for these taxpayers, the additional resources are not warranted, so steps 1 & 2 above will suffice.

Use of the dummy UTR has also ceased as the use of this technique prevents HMRC from risk assessing certain tax return data and also interferes with HMRC's obligation to make certain information available to overseas tax jurisdictions.

Replies (11)

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By bjn
16th Jan 2010 18:21


The main article given in answer to this issue is a very good summary but I would add that my experience is that "No UTR" cases are not confined to tax payer, or agent, failing to deal with notification and do occur where HMRC have not acted upon a notification. Where this occurs there is usually additional cost to the taxpayer and early action is preferred and to avoid the possible "new customer" suspense account allocation of a payment the payment, or notification thereof, should be made via the local district office, if it still exists, or the regional office perhaps at the same time as dealing with notification or reminder thereon.

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By User deleted
17th Jan 2010 21:20


Thank you for this really useful article

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By User deleted
18th Jan 2010 12:50

No UTR for 2009 Self Assessment Return

I have a client who became bankrupt earlier in February 2009.  He has been advised he needs to submit a 2009 tax return and has made a taxable loss for the year to 31 March 2009.  I am unable to use his old UTR number as it "belongs" to The Official Receiver and am still waiting for a new one to be allocated but this has not yet happened despite numerous phonecalls.  What is the best approach to take so that my client does not incurr any penalties ? 

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By ianvogan
18th Jan 2010 17:28

No partnership UTR

Our problem is that we have a UK trading partnership with no UTR. Both partners were already in the self assessment system and advised HMRC of self employed status by telephone and have paid Class 2 NICs. No CWF1 was submitted and neither partner was instructed that one should have been submitted.

A CWF1 has now been submitted, but no UTR has been issued.

Assuming that the UTR is still not available by 31 January can the partners enter profit details in notes or other income so that they can file their individual returns on time.

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By naomi2000
18th Jan 2010 17:45

Partnership CWF1

In the circumstances Ian describes, I've just had the partnership CWF1 sent back "because all the partners already have NIC notification" . 





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By Fred Hoad
19th Jan 2010 09:55

No partnership UTR

I submitted form 64-8 for a new partnership together with forms CWF1 for the partners (all of who already have utr's) and have now heard back from the Revenue saying that the partnership 64-8 cannot be accepted because there is no tax reference.  They want me to return it with CWF1's!

Clearly, the documents I sent have been separated by some idiot and now they want me to repeat what I have already done.  I have now obtained a phone number for CAAT but guess what, I can't get through!

Still, that probably comes as no surprise given the shockingly low call answer rate published last week. 

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By ianvogan
19th Jan 2010 10:44

CAAT telephone line

I got a speedy reply when I telephoned CAAT yesterday, but it went downhill from there. I was trying to get an explanation as to why my attempt to use the electronic authorisation facility had failed. The guy who answered the phone kept insisting that this was because there wasn't a 64-8 in place.

I then tried SA technical support who told me that we are in fact already registered as agents (which is what we thought all along and is probably why the electronic authorisation failed) but the system wasn't "correctly flagged".

Another 15 minutes of my life wasted, I don't think that I can justify charging the client.

When trying to resolve my original issue about filing returns without a UTR for a partnership I was advised that as long as the partners paid the tax due by 31 January late filing penalties onthe returns (including the partnership return) would be reduced to £nil. I understood that the £100 per partner was not mitigate.


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By Tax Angel
28th Jan 2010 19:34

Paying tax doesn't stop partnership late filing penalties

I agree with you - the partnership late filing penalty will still be charged even if tax has been paid. At least the partners who have paid tax will have penalties reduced to £nil.  Partnership may have case for 'reasonable excuse' mitigation.

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By [email protected]
12th Oct 2010 15:13

Non Resident Corporate Partner UTR

I have an LLP with a non resident corporate partner (Swedish AB). How do you get a UTR in this instance?

In the interim I will try writing to CAAT at Longbenton and settle down for a three month wait.

I second all the pejorative comments about the 'Helplines'...... worse than useless ...if they were not there at least you would know you were on your own instead of thinking that help was available!

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By Barbara-Susan Jones
18th Jan 2011 10:00

Sole trader business becomes partnership but can't make progress

I am not making any headway obtaining a UTR for our partnership.  We both already have UTRs relating to us but not one for the partnership.  My paper tax return submitted in September was rejected because no partnership UTR, a paper partnership I downloaded from HMRC site and submitted in same envelope the Revenue claim no knowledge of.  I have phoned Revenue about 4 times, each time taking best part of an hour waiting etc., only to be sent round in circles.  Have written regarding Class 2 NIC which took several months to sort out, written to 2 separate tax offices regarding UTR - tax office unable to comment or give information over the phone.

Wondering now whether to input partnership income as other income on-line and resubmit a paper return for partnership with covering letter.  Any ideas?


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By SoleSista
04th Jan 2013 12:46

In my case I did notify them that I was a sole trader, but was then told that they couldn't issue a UTR because I was on sickness related benefit at the time, and I needed to get in touch with the DWP. I gave up on setting up my business for a while as it seemed too complicated (it was my attempt to do some sort of work after a long time out) and nothing further came from them for that tax year, not even a paper return.

When I finally went ahead with a business two years later, but in a different field, I notified them/registered it, received a paper tax return and UTR. However they then tried to charge me penalty fees for the previous two years even though there was never a UTR, and never a business. I had to appeal it and explain to them what the circumstances were.

So lack of UTR isn't always down to a failure to notify. My honesty and willingness to notify bit me on the bottom in my case!

More recently I had to move home very quickly under dire circumstances, everything is packed away in storage and any paperwork with my UTR on it has disappeared off the face of the earth. I do have some HMRC paperwork to hand, inc. letters, but none of it has my UTR on it. Since they won't give them over the phone I'm having a nightmare trying to get hold of it, so I can find out my User ID and password (it's been that long since I've been able to log in...) and submit this year's return!

They do make it difficult - I have no idea why I need so many user numbers. Surely one or the other would suffice? And if you haven't got one, you can't use the other. The student loan company are the same way - all kinds of user ids and secret answers and questions. I'm in my early 30s and use the internet all the time, so it's not like I'm an inexperienced old fuddy duddy with online services.

I've just emailed the online helpdesk with what I think might be my UTR - in reference box on Payslip they attached to reminder letter. It's ten digits minus the letter at the end and it looks familiar. Fingers crossed. Either way, they have my NINO and other details so that might be enough to give me my ID and password.

It's so annoying because I'd have done it by now!

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