HMRC UK Trust Register

10 August 2022 Rachael Dronfield View all News

In response to European anti-money laundering legislation, HMRC introduced the UK Trust Register Service (TRS) in 2017 with the aim of improving visibility over the beneficial ownership of assets held in UK Trusts.

Originally the legislation focused on Trusts with a UK tax liability, however, new rules introduced in October 2020 widen the requirements to include many non-taxable UK Trusts.

As a result, the trustees of all UK Trusts should now consider whether they need to register on the TRS, regardless of whether the Trust has a UK tax liability or not. Although there are some exemptions from registration for both existing and new Trusts, this still leaves a significant number of Trusts, both large and small, that need to register.

What kind of Trust needs to register with the TRS?

Most UK and non-UK Trusts with a UK tax liability already have to register with the TRS, so it is the trustees of non-taxable “express” Trusts that now need to consider their position.

In this context, an express trust is where the Settlor deliberately created a Trust, compared to a statutory trust which is created automatically due to our laws, e.g., statutory Trusts created by the intestacy rules when someone dies without a valid Will.

Some types of express Trusts are also excluded, including those set up as part of a minor child’s bank account, Will trusts (but only for the first 2 years after death), Charitable Trusts, older trusts that have minimal assets and some trusts whose only asset is a particular type of life policy. However, there are still many trusts where action to register is required.

Trustees should seek advice to confirm whether they need to register with the TRS or whether their Trust is covered by a specific exclusion.

Registration Deadlines

The change to the legislation means that many non-taxable Trusts created before 6 October 2020 must be registered on the TRS by 1 September 2022. This is the case even if the Trust has now closed.

Non-taxable Trusts created after 6 October 2020 must be registered within 90 days, or 1 September 2022 (whichever is later).

Existing Taxable UK Trusts should have already registered on the TRS to meet their compliance requirements.

Following the September 2022 deadline for existing non-taxable Trusts, new Trusts must be registered within 90 days of creation (or within two years of death if the Trust is a Will Trust).

Trustee Responsibility

Responsibility for the registration of the Trust lies with the Trustee(s). Failure to register the Trust could result in a fine being imposed by HMRC for each instance of non-compliance, although HMRC have confirmed that initially penalties for a first offence will be waived, unless the failure was deliberate.

The lead Trustee is usually responsible for registering the Trust, but Trustees can appoint an agent, such as a firm of Accountants or Solicitors to register the Trust on their behalf.

Following registration on the TRS, the details of the Trust must be maintained by the Trustees, and HMRC must be kept informed of any changes in the information such as a change to the Beneficiaries or the personal details of a Trustee. The TRS must be updated with any changes within 90 days of the change, and it is the Trustees’ responsibility to ensure that the information provided is correct.

Trust Details

When registering on the TRS, a Trustee will need to provide details of the Trust, including information on the settlors, Trustees, and beneficiaries. This can include details such as National Insurance numbers, dates of birth, address, nationality, and country of residence, however it is not expected that this information will be publicly available. Changes in any of this information throughout the lifetime of the Trust will need to be updated on the TRS.

If a legitimate Trust Data Request is lodged on the register, HMRC are authorised to release information about each individual involved in the Trust, but HMRC will not provide these details if an individual is under 18, lacks mental capacity or would be at risk if the information was released.

How To Register

Trustees can register the Trust online using the ‘Government Gateway’ facility using their Government Gateway ID. If the Trustee already has a Gateway ID for their own affairs, they will need to set up a new one specifically for the Trust.

How Can We Help?

Shorts are registering Trusts that we already act for, and we can be appointed as an agent to register other trusts with HMRC’s TRS on behalf of the Trustees.

Contact our team

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