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I'm a UK resident and British citizen, always in PAYE jobs, and who's never even seen a tax return. I'm opening up an account in an EU country, for a pitiful amount of money and it wants a TIN (Tax Identification Number). I have become confused by the documentation provided by HMRC, EU, etc as to what I need to supply. Only the bank can do this definitively, I suppose, but they're rather old-fashioned and everything is done the slow way. So I want to give a good stab at getting this right first time around.

Of course I have a well-used NINO (National Insurance Number). I don't have a UTR: I think that's a tax return thing.

  1. various documents identify NINO and/or UTRs as TINs. Which is the case? One? The other? Both?
  2. other documents suggest they are Quasi-TINs. What on earch does that mean? Does it count as a TIN when a bank asks me for a TIN?
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  • For any curious USians: a NINO is roughly an SSN, which I have, and a UTR is some deep-tax thing which I'm sure every billionaire has tattoed on their butt, but is a bit of a mystery to me. – Dan Sheppard Sep 28 '20 at 16:03
  • Have you ever logged in to your HMRC personal tax account? My UTR is there but it's described as my "Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)" so it's possible people who have never done self assessment don't have them. – GS - Apologise to Monica Sep 28 '20 at 17:12
  • I've never logged into anything to do with HMRC, as far as I remember @GS-ApologisetoMonica (but thanks for the suggestion). – Dan Sheppard Sep 28 '20 at 17:52
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    The UK HMRC agency does not normally issue TINs, and Gov.uk says "Some jurisdictions do not issue a TIN and where that is the case there will be nothing to report unless they use other high integrity numbers with an equivalent level of identification. For individuals these include: [...] National insurance number". – Michael Harvey Sep 28 '20 at 18:59
  • (The form does say TIN [where issued] and @MichaelHarvey, which is promising, but the ambiguity about whether a NINO/UTR is a TIN or a quasi-TIN if anything makes that question more confusing! – Dan Sheppard Sep 28 '20 at 19:10
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My advice: ask the bank if your UK NINO is acceptable for the TIN.

The European Commission Tax Information Numbers Country Sheet for the United Kingdom says

"The United Kingdom does not issue TINs in a strict sense, but it does have two TIN-like numbers, which are not reported on official documents of identification: 1. The most recent quasi TIN is the unique taxpayer reference (UTR) [...] 2. The other reference number widely used in the UK, and which is perhaps more familiar, is the National Insurance Number (NINO)."

EU TIN sheet (UK)

A firm of lawyers in Alicante, Spain, catering for English-speakers, expats, etc, says

Lately, we have been witnessing a new requirement from the Spanish banks, which is the TIN number. [...] It is used by the administrations of the different countries to assign a number to the citizen that allows perfect identification for tax purposes.[...] Many times, this number can be the same National Insurance Number (NINO in UK), or the number that appears on the tax returns of taxpayers in their countries of origin (UTR).

TIN (spanishsolicitors.com)

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    I agree that asking the bank is the best way to go. The other option would be just to give them the NINO and see what happens, which I would be tempted to do if you think it will be slow / difficult to get them to answer the question. To be fair to them, in their shoes they might well simply not know - basically, they want a number they can wave at HMRC to say "it's this guy" and they have no idea whether HMRC will accept a NINO or a FOOBAR or anything else. We can be sufficiently confident that HMRC would accept a NINO as a way to identify you that you would not be risking anything. – Vicky Sep 29 '20 at 11:43

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