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Identification Numbers Relevant To UK Companies


Identification Numbers Relevant To UK CompaniesThis blog provides an overview of the various numbers that are relevant to UK companies.

Company Registration Number

The Company Registration Number (“CRN”) is issued to a company’s registered office upon the successful registration of a company. 

This includes the following most commonly used entities:

*A slightly different format usually with a two letter prefix

UK Company registration may be made at one of four offices determined by the location of the registered office, i.e. England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The formats of the issued registration numbers are as follows:

  • England and Wales: 01234567 (eight digits, the zero is often “silent”);
  • Scotland: SC012345; and
  • Northern Ireland: NL012345.

Once registered, Companies House automatically notifies the district office of HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) advising them of the newly registered company. 

Unique Taxpayer Reference Number

Once notified by Companies House, HMRC issue a Unique Taxpayer Reference (“UTR”) number to the company’s registered office address. A UTR comprises of ten digits.

This number is key to any dealings with HMRC in respect of communication, the filing of annual corporation tax returns and the payment of corporation tax.

Tax District Reference Number

The company’s UTR may be prefixed by a three digit number which indicates which office of HMRC the company’s main record is kept at and provides assistance in locating that record when communicating with them.

Authorisation Code

This is a number provided by HMRC following a request for online Agent Authorisation. The code is inputted to grant the agent with access to client specific information online in respect of Corporation Tax VAT, PAYE, etc.

VAT Registration Number

A VAT Registration number (“VRN”) is issued upon a successful application to register for VAT. The VRN is not automatically provided. The format of the standard VRN is as follows:

  • Nine digits (block of 3, block of 4, block of 2 – e.g. GB999 9999 73)

It is important to note the following:

  • The number is entered onto a Europe wide data base that enables traders to validate a potential customer’s VRN; and
  • The number is not random in that by applying a formula the number can be checked to determine the trade type for which the original application was made. 

PAYE Employers Reference Number

Companies that are employers are required to register for a PAYE scheme to enable them to notify HMRC of the income tax and National Insurance. The format of this number is as follows:

  • District reference (three digits)/alpha numeric (AB456).

PAYE Accounts Office Reference Number

This number has the format District reference PX five digits, i.e. 123PX12345, and enables employers to remit the aforementioned tax and National Insurance deductions to their account at HMRC.

UK Standard Industrial Classification

A Standard Industrial Classification (“SIC”) was first introduced into the UK in 1948 for use in classifying business establishments and other statistical units by the type of economic activity in which they are engaged. 

The classification provides a framework for the collection, tabulation, presentation and analysis of data and administration purposes, and its use promotes uniformity.

The SIC number is entered annually on the company’s Annual return filed with Companies House.


Please note that this commentary does not purport to be a comprehensive review of the Identification Numbers Relevant To UK Companies.

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