A company number is not the same as a tax number. It’s important to understand the differences between these two numbers so you don’t confuse them with one another.
Your company number 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.
Your tax number is officially known as a company Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). It is issued by HMRC shortly after company formation.
Your company’s UTR will be included in the first letter that you receive from HMRC at your registered office address. It will be printed next to a heading like ‘UTR’, ‘Tax reference’, ‘Official Use’ or ‘Reference’. 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 of them because you will need to use them on many occasions throughout the life of your company.
About Company Registration Numbers (CRNs)
A 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 individual 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 (formerly the ‘annual return’)
- 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, emails, and promotional material.
Your company number will remain unchanged for entire time that your company exists. No other business will ever be issued with the same number, even after your company is dissolved.
About Unique Taxpayer References (UTRs)
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 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 individual 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
You can find your company UTR on on all official correspondence from HMRC, including the ‘Notice to Deliver a Company Tax Return’.
Where to find your company number and Unique Taxpayer Reference
You can find your company number and Unique Taxpayer Reference 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
If all else fails, simply contact Companies House or HMRC directly to find your company number or unique tax reference.