Invoices should always include important details about your business, such as your business name, address, and VAT number (if you have one). But should they include a Unique Taxpayer Reference? This blog post gives three reasons why you don’t need to put your UTR number on your invoices.
1. A UTR is not a substitute for a CRN
When businesses incorporate, they're assigned a Company Registration Number, and when incorporated businesses issue invoices, they need to make sure that their invoices include their CRN.
Because freelancers and sole traders are not incorporated businesses, they don’t have a CRN. Some small businesses therefore believe that they need to provide their UTR number as a substitute for a CRN.
However, UTRs and CRNs are used for different purposes and are therefore not interchangeable – if you don’t have a CRN, you simply don’t have to provide one.
2. Customers don’t need to know your UTR
The main purpose of a UTR number is to help HMRC identify tax payers. This means that you’ll usually only need to share your UTR with HMRC. For example, you should provide your UTR when you complete your Self Assessment tax return or if you make advance payments towards your tax bill.
However, you might also share your UTR number with an accountant or financial advisor who deals with HMRC on your behalf, and if you’re a CIS-registered subcontractor, you’ll also share your UTR with contractors.
Your clients don’t need to know about your individual tax returns. There’s therefore no reason why they would need your UTR number, so it isn’t necessary to include it on your invoices. The more unnecessary information you include on an invoice, the more difficult it will be for customers to find the information they actually need.
3. UTR numbers are confidential
Finally, whereas CRNs are publicly available on HMRC's official register of incorporated businesses, UTR numbers are confidential.
There are a few instances of scammers committing identity fraud using someone else’s UTR, so you should never share your UTR number with anyone who doesn’t explicitly need it – in the worst case scenario, if you share your UTR on your invoices, it could end up in the wrong hands.
UTR numbers and invoices in Debitoor
Debitoor invoicing software makes it easy to send professional, compliant invoices. Our ready-made invoice template contains fields for all of your business’s details, making sure that your invoices will never leave out any important information.
If you go the ‘Company’ section of your account settings, you’ll see a field labelled ‘Co. Reg. Number’. If you enter a CRN, it will automatically appear on all future invoices. If you don’t have a CRN, you should just leave this field blank (and if you've added a UTR number to the ‘Co. Reg. Number’ field by mistake, you should remove it!).