How to get your UTR number if you have lost it

How to Get a UTR Number

When you register as self-employed with HMRC, they will assign a Unique Taxpayer Reference number to you. This 10-digit UTR number is unique to you or your company. You will need this number to manage your taxes, including self-assessment tax returns. This guide will assist you in finding your UTR number. You can call HMRC on 0844 453 0158 if you need any more help.

What If I’ve Lost My UTR Number?

Once you register with HMRC, they will normally include your UTR number in all correspondence. You should be able to find it on official documents and letters from HMRC. Look for the 10-digit number on your “welcome to self-assessment” (SA250) letter or notices to file tax returns. It will be on previous self-assessment tax returns as well as your statement of account and payment reminders. You should keep all of these documents and store them safely for your records. The number might say “tax reference” next to it on the documents. You will also be able to find your UTR number by logging into your online account with HMRC. If you can’t find your UTR number, then you should call the Self Assessment helpline on 0843 178 4198. HMRC can find it for you.

Why Do I Need a UTR Number?

HMRC uses UTR numbers to identify everything to do with your taxes. You need one if you earn any income outside of the PAYE scheme. To get a UTR number, you must register with HMRC as an individual, limited company, or other organization. Usually, if you do this, then you must report your own taxable income to HMRC. You can check online to see if you need to fill out a tax return yourself. If you do need to file a self-assessment tax return, you will be able to do this online. To use your online account, you will need to activate it using a code which HMRC will send to you by post. Receiving your UTR number and this code can take up to 20 days. This is why is it important to keep track of your taxes. You could end up paying penalty fines as well as overdue income tax.

How to Register for Self-Assessment

If you are new to self-assessment, you can register online. This will enrol you in the online service and generate your UTR number, which HMRC will send to you by post. They will also send a letter containing the activation code you will need to log in for the first time. HMRC usually sends these letters within 10 working days (or 21 working days if you are abroad). You can also register over the phone by calling the Self-Employed helpline on 0843 178 4180. It will take the same amount of time to receive your letters. To avoid fines, you must register by 5th October in your company’s second tax year. You have to register for Self Assessment and Class 2 National Insurance if you earned more than £1,000 from self-employment in the last tax year (between 6th and 5th April).

What Do I Need to Register?

Whether you apply for your UTR number online or by phone, you will need to provide evidence. HMRC will ask you for a series of details. You should make sure that you have all of these ready:

  • your name
  • your address
  • National Insurance number
  • date of birth
  • contact phone number and e-mail address
  • self-employment start date
  • the nature of your business
  • business address
  • business contact phone number
  • UTR number if you were previously Self-Assessed
  • business UTR number if you’re joining a partnership

You will also need to provide all of this information if you register by post. To register in this way, you must fill out an online form then download and print it. The form will include the address you need to send it to. This additional postage time means it will take even longer to receive your UTR number. When you have to file your self-assessment tax returns, you can also send them by post.


What’s My Tax Code?

What's My Tax Code

Are you having trouble understanding your tax code? Read this guide to find out what your tax code means and what you should do if it is wrong. If you need further assistance after reading, then call HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) on 0843 178 7329. HMRC can help you to change your tax code. They can also help you with arranging any outstanding tax payments or refunds.

Tax Codes Explained

Your tax code will tell your employer or pension provider the amount of income tax you need to pay. Tax codes start with a number and have a letter at the end. The tax code indicates your tax-free Personal Allowance and your tax rate. HMRC will calculate this and inform your employer of your tax code. An example is 1150L, which is the tax code for most people with only one source of income. This code entitles you to the standard tax-free Personal Allowance of £11,500 a year. Check your tax code online, update your details, and see how much tax you must pay this year.

What It Means
Your Personal Allowance entitlement is the standard £11,500.
Marriage Allowance: you have 10% of your partner’s Personal Allowance.
Marriage Allowance: you gave your partner 10% of your Personal Allowance.
You are taxed according to the tax rates in Scotland.
Your tax code includes other calculations, such as a reduction for an estimated income above £100,000.
You used up your Personal Allowance, or you started a new job and your employer can’t give you a tax code.
HMRC taxes all of your income at the higher rate of 40% (used if you have more than one job or pension).
HMRC taxes all of your income at the additional rate of 45% (used if you have more than one job or pension).
HMRC taxes all of your income at the basic rate of 20% (used if you have more than one job or pension).
You are not paying any tax on this income.

If your tax code begins with a K, this means that you have income worth more than the tax-free allowance which isn’t being taxed any other way. This could be because you are paying previous taxes through your wages or pension, or you receive taxable state benefits or company benefits.

Tax Rates Explained

One of these letter codes will replace the last digit of your tax-free Personal Allowance amount. This will then create your tax code. You need to make sure this tax code is accurate and you are paying tax at the correct rate for your income. The basic rate means that you have to pay 20% tax on earnings from £11,501 to £45,000. Next, the higher rate means that you need to pay 40% tax on earnings between £45,001 and £150,000. Finally, the additional rate means that you must pay 45% tax if you earn more than £150,000 a year. The tax rate applies to income over your tax-free Personal Allowance amount. Your Personal Allowance will be smaller than £11,500 if your income is over £100,000. It might be bigger if you claim Blind Person’s Allowance or Marriage Allowance.

Emergency Tax Codes

You might find that your tax code has W1 or M1 at the end instead of any of the letters above. Your payslip might show 1150 W1, 1150 M1, or 1150 X. These are emergency tax codes, which are temporary. You will pay tax on all income above the basic Personal Allowance with these codes. It is likely that you will be on an emergency tax code if you start a new job. You might have begun working for an employer after previous self-employment. If you start receiving company benefits or the State Pension, your tax code might change to an emergency one temporarily. You should provide details of your previous income to your employer or HMRC (such as a P45). HMRC will then correct this and ensure that you are now on the right tax code for your circumstances.

Wrong Tax Code

If you think your tax code is wrong, it is important to check this as quickly as possible. Being on the wrong tax code means that you could be paying too much or too little tax. The sooner you resolve this, the easier it will be for you to pay back any tax you owe. You will also be able to get back any money you overpaid due to being on the wrong code. Tell HMRC about any changes to your income or benefits which will affect your tax payments. You should also contact HMRC if you make any tax relief claims, or a Marriage Allowance claim. HMRC will adjust your code so that you are paying tax correctly throughout the year. They will let you know whenever your code changes. If you had been paying the wrong amount of tax, the adjustments will show on your next payslip.

How to Apply for UK Citizenship

How to Apply for UK Citizenship

Successfully applying for UK citizenship will grant you British nationality. This will entitle you to the right to live in the UK, among many other benefits. You will be able to seek diplomatic help from the British government in other countries. If you have further questions after reading this guide, then call the Naturalisation helpline on 0843 178 6665. They can answer your enquiries about applying for UK citizenship. If you are only staying in the UK for a limited period of time, you will need a Visa instead. Apply for a Visa if you intend to study, work, or live in the UK temporarily.

UK Citizenship by Naturalisation

This is the most common way to become a UK citizen. You must meet the criteria below in order to apply for British citizenship by naturalisation. Adults can apply for British citizenship for their children under 18 years old if they meet the eligibility criteria. Children do not have to pass the Life in the UK Test. Adults will have to pass this test and provide proof of their ability to speak English before applying. You can find more information about this and the relevant costs further down the page in the Fees section. You can only apply for UK citizenship by naturalisation if you:

  • are 18 years old or above
  • are of good character (no serious criminal record or offences against the Home Office)
  • meet the requirements for knowledge of English and Life in the UK
  • have lived in the UK for at least 5 years before the Home Office gets your application
  • have not spent more than 450 days outside the UK in those 5 years
  • did not spend more than 90 days outside the UK in the last year
  • intend to continue living in the UK
  • have not broken any immigration laws while living in the UK

You can also apply for UK citizenship this way if the UK government granted you settlement or permanent resident status in the last year. Refugees or those under humanitarian protection can apply for settlement before applying for citizenship. Citizens of EEA (European Economic Area) countries must have a document as proof of permanent residence to apply for UK citizenship. There is currently no change to the status of EU citizens living in the UK, or UK citizens living in the EU. These statuses and rights will change when the UK leaves the EU on 29th March 2019.

UK Citizenship by Registration

Registering as a British citizen is usually easier than naturalisation, but you have to be eligible. It is an alternative route to UK citizenship, so you should not try to apply by naturalisation as well. The eligibility criteria are different, in any case. To register as a British citizen, you must usually have been born in the UK or within UK territories. For example, you must be a British overseas citizen or overseas territories citizen. Generally, you must have been born to a British father, born to a British mother before 1st January 1983, or born in the UK after 1st January 1983. There are other circumstances which may allow you to register as a British citizen, such as being stateless. There are different rules depending on your citizenship situation, so read through them all carefully.

UK Citizenship for Spouses of British Citizens

If you are married to a British citizen, you may be able to apply for UK citizenship for yourself. In general, the eligibility criteria for this is more or less the same as it is for anyone applying for UK citizenship by naturalisation. The main difference is that you only have to have lived in the UK for three years before applying for citizenship. The rules about time spent outside of the UK also do not apply if your spouse works abroad for the UK government or an organization close to the UK government. Other than this, you must meet the following criteria to apply for British citizenship:

  • married to or the civil partner of a British citizen
  • of sound mind (able to think and make decisions for yourself)
  • of good character (no serious criminal record)
  • meet the requirements for knowledge of English and Life in the UK
  • granted leave to stay in the UK indefinitely or permanent residence
  • lived in the UK for 3 years
  • have not spent more than 270 days outside the UK in these 3 years
  • did not spend more than 90 days outside the UK in the last year
  • have not broken any immigration laws while living in the UK

Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship means being a citizen of the UK while retaining nationality in another country. You do not need to apply for dual citizenship. If you are a British citizen, you can apply for a foreign citizenship and keep your UK citizenship. However, some countries do not accept dual citizenship. You will have to check the country’s laws on dual nationality before trying to apply for multiple citizenships. If you are a dual citizen, this means that you cannot seek diplomatic help from the UK government whenever you are visiting the other country where you are a national.

Some countries count a married person as automatically gaining their partner’s nationality. This is not the case in the UK. To become a British citizen, the married person would have to apply for citizenship as the spouse of a British citizen. Children might gain the nationality of their parent even if they are born outside of that country. Again, you will have to check that country’s laws on dual citizenship. You can look into this by contacting the country’s embassy or consulate within the UK. They will be able to provide information about their country’s laws on dual nationality.

Applying for UK Citizenship

To apply for British citizenship by naturalisation, you have three options. The first is an individual application. If you are living in the UK, you can apply online. You can also download, print, and fill out the form to send in the post. If you live outside of the UK (including the Isle of Man, Channel Islands, and overseas territories) then you cannot apply online. You must use the paper form.

Before you apply, you must have all the relevant documents ready. This includes two referees, your Life in the UK Test pass reference number, proof that you know the English language, and proof of your right to live in the UK. There are online guidance booklets to help you with your application and these requirements. A second option is using the Nationality Checking Service.

The third option is to apply through a representative or agent. This is an individual or company who can give you advice and assist you with your application. You should check that they are registered with the OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner). Some barristers or solicitors are not actually registered with the OISC but are still safe for you to use. This includes:

  • Law Society of England and Wales
  • General Council of the Bar
  • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
  • Law Society of Scotland
  • Faculty of Advocates
  • Law Society of Northern Ireland
  • General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland

UK Citizenship Application Address

If you are applying yourself using the paper form, you must send it to the correct postal address.

Application Postal Address
Within the UK
Department 1
The Capital
New Hall Place
L3 9PP
All Other Countries
Department 1
UK Visas and Immigration
PO BOX 306
L2 0QN

Please note that there is a different process for certain locations. If you live on the Isle of Man or in the Channel Islands, send citizenship applications to the Lieutenant Governor. For those living in British overseas territories, you should send your application to the Governor of the territory.

How to Apply for British Citizenship

UK Citizenship Test

Before you can apply for UK citizenship, you must pass the Life in the UK Test. There are 60 test centres throughout the UK where you can take this test. You have to book a place online at least 3 days in advance. It will cost £50 to sit the Life in the UK Test. You must bring proof of identity and address or you will not be able to take the test. The Life in the UK Test includes 24 questions on information from the official handbook. You will have 45 minutes to answer these questions.

After taking the test, you must wait at the test centre for your results. If you achieve 75% or more, this is a pass, and you will receive a pass notification letter. In the event that you fail the test, you will not get a refund, but you can try again after 7 days. You can take the test as many times as you need to, but you must book and pay again every time. Refunds are available if you cancel more than 3 days in advance, or the centre cancels your test. Find out more about the test here.

Proof of Knowledge of English

Another thing you will need before applying is proof that you can speak English. You will not have to prove your knowledge of English if you are over 65 years old. You are also exempt from this if you cannot prove your knowledge of English due to a long-term medical condition. Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA do not have to prove this either. However, anyone else 18 years old or above and applying for UK citizenship will have to prove this first.

You can prove your knowledge of the English language if you have an English qualification from an approved test centre. This includes a certificate at B1, B2, C1 or C2 level. You must provide the certificate to prove that you have the qualification. You can find a list of approved English tests and test providers here. Other than this, you can prove your knowledge if you passed a degree taught or researched in English. If the degree is from a UK university, you only need the degree certificate. If it isn’t, you will need the degree certificate plus additional proof, such as a letter from UK NARIC and a letter from your university confirming the degree was taught in English.

British Citizenship Fees 2018

One of the most significant parts of the UK citizenship application process is the financial costs. The fees cover handling and processing, plus the citizenship ceremony for applicants who are over 18. The cost for an adult applying for UK citizenship by naturalisation is £1282. For an adult applying for UK citizenship by registration, this costs £1163. Adults must also pay an £80 fee to attend their citizenship ceremony. A child under 18 registering as a UK citizen will incur a charge of £973. If the child turns 18 during the application process, the additional £80 fee must be paid.

There are other costs for other circumstances. You should call 0843 178 6665 if you are not sure which fees apply to you. Application fees can be paid by cheque or credit or debit card. There are other costs to consider besides these fees. The Home Office may ask you to provide biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo of your face). This process will cost £19.20. Before you even apply, you must take the Life in the UK Test. The test itself costs £50 and the handbook to study from is £12.99. You should also consider the costs of obtaining any other documentation.

What Happens Next With My UK Citizenship?

It can take up to 4 weeks after you apply for you to receive a letter confirming your application. This is not confirmation of your citizenship. It is only an acknowledgement that your application has been received and is being processed. After this, it can take up to 6 months or longer to receive a decision. The Home Office might contact you to request further information which will help with your application. If your circumstances change before you receive a decision, you should contact the Visa and Immigration helpline on 0843 596 3601. This includes marriage, arrests, or change of address. You might have to attend an interview to prove you speak English.

If your application is successful, you can book a place at a citizenship ceremony. You can usually bring 2 guests to the ceremony with you. The ceremonies are normally done in groups, but you can request a private ceremony. Contact your local council to book your citizenship ceremony. If you are not living in the UK, ask to have the ceremony at your country’s UK embassy or consulate. You may have to postpone your ceremony until you return to the UK. At the ceremony, you must make an oath of allegiance and a pledge to respect the laws and freedoms of the UK before you receive your certificate of British citizenship. Your council may offer photos or videos of the event.


How to Claim Child Benefit

How to Claim Child Benefit

Read this helpful guide if you have any confusion over claiming Child Benefit. You can call the Child Benefit Office on 0844 248 2560 if you need more support with your Child Benefit claim.

What is Child Benefit?

This benefit is financial support for people who care for one or more children under 16 years old. You should claim Child Benefit as soon as possible when a child is born or begins to live with you. For an only child or the oldest child, the Child Benefit rate is £20.70 per week. After this, the rate for additional children is £13.70 a week per child. If you or your partner has an annual income of over £50,000, you will have to pay a tax charge. You can opt out of getting Child Benefit to avoid this. Even if you decide not to receive payments, you should still submit the claim form. This helps you to get National Insurance credits, which go towards your State Pension. It ensures that your child gets a National Insurance number when they turn 16, so they don’t have to apply for one.

How to Claim Child Benefit for a Newborn

You must register the birth of your child at the hospital before you leave. If this is not possible at the hospital, you can go to your local register office. You cannot claim Child Benefit until the child has a birth certificate or an adoption certificate. To make a claim, print and fill in the form and then send it in the post with the certificate. The address for Child Benefit claims is Child Benefit Office, Washington, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE88 1ZD. Send the claim form even if you don’t have the certificate yet, as you can send it later. If you make a claim for a child you previously received Child Benefit for, you don’t need to provide the certificate again. If you accept responsibility for or adopt an older child, you will still need either their original birth or adoption certificate or a copy.

How many children can you claim Child Benefit for?

There is no limit on the number of children you can claim Child Benefit for. However, only one person can claim Child Benefit for each child. If two people care for the same child, they must decide which one of them makes the claim. HMRC will make the decision for them if they cannot agree. To claim Child Benefit for a child, you must be responsible for them and nobody else can be claiming for them. You might be able to claim if you look after a friend’s or relative’s child. You are responsible if the child either lives with you or you contribute financially towards their care. Contributions such as money, clothes, presents, and food should at least equal the amount of Child Benefit. If your child has a baby of their own, you can claim Child Benefit for both of them.

Child Benefit Claim: How long does it take?

It is advisable to submit your claim for Child Benefit as quickly as possible because it can take a while to process. Child Benefit claims can take up to 12 weeks, or even longer if you are new to the UK. However, you can backdate the claim for up to 3 months. You will then receive Child Benefit to cover this period, as long as you were eligible. The Child Benefit Office will inform you if and when you will start receiving Child Benefit payments. It is usually paid every 4 weeks, either on a Monday or on a Tuesday. The money will only go to one account, but it can be paid into any type of account. The only exclusion in a Nationwide cashbuilder account in a different person’s name. You could get Child Benefit weekly if you are a single parent or receive certain benefits.

When do I stop getting Child Benefit?

You will no longer receive Child Benefit after the 31st August following your child’s 16th birthday. You can continue to get Child Benefit until they are 20 if the child stays in education or training. HMRC will send a letter asking about your child’s circumstances when they turn 16. If you intend to keep receiving Child Benefit, you must inform HMRC about your child’s education status. If your child goes into care for more than 8 weeks, or hospital or residential care for more than 12 weeks, then your Child Benefit payments will stop. There are exceptions if you still spend money on them. Child Benefit payments will also stop if the child leaves school and works for over 24 hours a week, if they begin an apprenticeship in England, or they receive benefits themselves.

Which changes in circumstances will affect Child Benefit?

It is important to notify the Child Benefit Office of any changes in circumstances involving the child you are claiming for. When families split up, each parent will then receive £20.70 a week for the oldest child who lives with them. They cannot claim for both children. When two families join into one, the oldest out of all the children will then qualify for the £20.70 rate. All other children in the new family will get the £13.70 rate. If your child no longer lives with you or you separate from a partner whose income no longer supports the child, you should inform the Child Benefit Office. Report any changes to your bank account, address, or relationship status. Report it if your child lives away for over 8 weeks or goes abroad for more than 12 weeks, or they die or get married.

Stamp Duty Rates

Stamp Duty Rates

If you live in England or Northern Ireland, you will need to pay Stamp Duty on residential, commercial and buy to let properties that cost more than £125,000. This tax also applies to freehold properties as well as leasehold, and still stands whether you are buying a property outright, or if you are purchasing a home with a mortgage. If you live in Scotland or Wales, you will not have to pay the Stamp Dut Tax, however, you will need to the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (for those living in Scotland) or the Wales Land Transaction Tax. For more information on these services, contact your local government.

Stamp Duty Land Tax Rates

When it comes to paying Stamp Duty Land Tax, you will find that you fall into a rate band. The tax band you are given is decided by how much your property is worth. The tax is only to be paid on houses over £125,000. After this, you will be taxed 2% of the next £125,000, and then 5% on the next £25,000 afterwards. For example, if you pay £125,000 or over for a home, you will need to pay 2% Stamp Duty Tax. If you purchase a house over £250,000, your Stamp Duty Tax Rate will be 5%, and if your home is valued over £925,001, your Stamp Duty Tax will stand at 10%. Anything over £1.5m will be taxed at 12%.

Commercial Property Stamp Duty Rates

If you are buying a property, or area of land, that is non-residential or has a mixed-use, you will still need to pay Stamp Duty Tax. Unlike residential homes, stamp duty tax for Commerical Properties is only paid on those worth £150,000 or more. Properties that fall under this title include shops, offices, forests, abandoned lots, and farmland. To find out how much stamp duty tax you owe, use the government stamp duty tax calculator. Usually, anything over the £150,000 threshold will mean that you have to pay 1% Stamp Duty Tax. On anything over £5m, you will need to pay 2% Stamp Duty Tax.

Buy to Let Stamp Duty Rates

If you’re looking to purchase a home with the intention to rent it out, you will need to pay Stamp Duty. To find out how much Stamp Duty you owe, use the Which calculator. Whether you’re buying a holiday home, buying a second home or buying to let, you will need to pay Stamp Duty. This also stands for residents in Northern Ireland. If you live in Scotland or Wales, you will have to pay tax in other way, guidelines for which can be found on the government website.

Even if you are married, and you personally own no properties, you will still need to pay your stamp duty tax if your partner owns, or has owned, a property in the past. If you are unsure on how much stamp duty you will need to pay on a property, or if you’re unsure whether you are exempt from stamp duty as a first-time buyer, read on below or contact a solicitor for more help and guidance.

Stamp Duty Rates for First Time Buyers

If you’re a First Time Buyer, you will not have to pay any Stamp Duty Tax on your property, if its value is below that of £300,000. This was announced back in 2017 and has been in effect ever since. If you’re a first-time buyer, and the property you are buying is above £300,000, you will be taxed on the amount above this, up until £500,000.

The exemption for First Time Buyers will only apply if you plan on living in the residence that you intend to buy. If you plan on buying a property in order to rent, you will not qualify for the First Time Buyer exemption. Unfortunately, you will also be exempt from this if you have inherited a house, or if you have owned a property share.