A company number is not the same as a tax number. It’s important to understand the differences between the two numbers so that you don’t confuse them with one another.
First of all, we have the company number which is officially known as a company registration number (CRN). It is issued by Companies House immediately upon incorporation. It is unique to your company and will be displayed on your certificate of incorporation.
You must provide your company number whenever you contact or submit information to Companies House. It will also be required by third parties, such as banks and suppliers.
Then we have the tax number which is officially known as a company’s Unique Taxpayer Reference, or UTR, or Corporation Tax UTR, and it is issued by HMRC shortly after company formation.
Your company’s UTR will be included in the first letter your company receives from HMRC at the registered office address. HMRC will use this UTR to identify your business whenever you contact them about tax.
Your company registration number and Unique Taxpayer Reference are both extremely important. You must keep a note of both because you will need to use them on many occasions throughout the lifetime of your company.
The company registration number or CRN
The company registration number is a unique combination of 8 characters, issued by Companies House upon the successful incorporation of a new limited company in the UK.
Your company number will:
- consist of 8 numbers, or 2 letters followed by 6 numbers
- be used to identify your company and verify its legal existence
- be printed on your certificate of incorporation and all official correspondence received from Companies House
- be displayed on public record alongside your company details
You must provide your company number in the following situations:
- filing and updating details on your annual confirmation statement
- submitting annual company accounts
- registering with HMRC for business taxes (Corporation Tax, VAT, PAYE)
- reporting changes to your company’s details
- filing a Return of Allotment of Shares when new company shares are issued
- issuing share certificates
- appointing and removing directors and secretaries
- filing company tax returns and PAYE reports
- opening a business bank account
- applying for credit or entering into any other type of contractual agreement through the company
You will also need to display your company number on all of your business stationery. This includes websites, letterheads, emails, and promotional material.
Your company number will remain unchanged for the entire time that your company exists. No other business will ever be issued with the same number, even after your company is dissolved.
The Unique Taxpayer Reference or UTR
HMRC will issue your company’s Unique Taxpayer Reference within a few days of company formation. It will be printed at the top of a letter that is delivered to your company’s registered office address. This letter will also contain information about your tax obligations. Your UTR will:
- consist of 10 digits
- be used by HMRC to identify your company and verify its tax status, obligations, and liabilities
You must provide your company UTR in the following circumstances:
- informing HMRC if your business is dormant (inactive)
- registering for Corporation Tax, VAT, and PAYE
- paying Corporation Tax and VAT
- filing tax returns and VAT Returns
- paying employees
- you need to tell HMRC about a change to your business
- changing your Corporation Tax accounting period
- contacting HMRC about anything else relating to your company
Where to find your company registration number and Unique Taxpayer Reference
The good news is – you can find both numbers in a variety of places.
Your company number can be found:
- on the certificate of incorporation
- in official letters from Companies House
- on the public register of companies, accessed online via WebCHeck or Companies House Service
- through 1st Formations’ free Online Company Manager facility
Your company UTR can be found:
- on all official mail from HMRC
- by logging in to your Corporation Tax online account
What if you cannot find your company’s UTR?
If you are unable to find a copy of your company’s UTR, go to the GOV.UK website page titled ‘Ask for a copy of your Corporation Tax UTR’ and fill in the short online request form. You will need your company registration number and registered company name.
You will then be sent a copy of your company’s UTR by post to the registered office address.
It is worth noting that you will not be able to request a Unique Taxpayer Reference if your limited company has been dissolved or struck off.
So, there you have it!
We have covered the company registration number and Unique Taxpayer Reference, including when you will need to use them and where to find them.
If you have any questions, please ask in the comments section below and we’ll get straight back to you!