What is the Trust Registration Service and what do I have to do?

Category: Estate Planning&Tax

The deadline for registering trusts on the new Trust Registration Service (TRS) of 1st September 2022 is fast approaching.

As a reminder, the new rules, introduced on 6th October 2020, extended the scope of the TRS to UK (and some non-UK) trusts. Previously, only Trusts that had to pay tax had to register; the requirement now extends to most Trusts, regardless of their tax status.

What does this mean for my Trust?

If you have a Trust that needs to be registered, you must do this by 1st September 2022 or within 90 days of it being set up, whichever is the later. The TRS must also be updated with any changes, such as changes of Trustees, and this must happen within 90 days of the change. Failure to complete the TRS and keep it up to date may result in a fine from HMRC.

It is the responsibility of the Trustees to ensure the TRS is completed and kept up to date. All Trustees are legally responsible for the Trust, but you must nominate one ‘Lead’ Trustee to complete the TRS. They will then be the main point of contact for HMRC.

If you have more than one Trust, each must be registered separately.

How can I register a trust?

In terms of registering the Trust, there are two possible options to achieve this:

  • The trustees can authorise an ‘agent’ to register the Trust on their behalf – but, as per HMRC guidance, it’s only possible to register as an agent if the business operates as an accountancy service provider or;
  • The trustees can register the Trust themselves, with one trustee designated as the ‘lead trustee’ for HMRC correspondence.

It should be borne in mind that the registration process is relatively straightforward, particularly for non-taxable trusts.

You can find a step-by-step guide on how to register here.

What information does the TRS need?

The TRS needs some basic details about the Trust (for example, the Trust name and date created), the Lead Trustee and all those who are party to the Trust (i.e. details of the Settlor, Trustees and Beneficiaries).

You can find a link to a checklist of the information you might need here.

How long does it take to register?

If you have all the information ready, completing the TRS should take no more than half an hour.

Do I have to do anything after the Trust is registered?

Following registration, trustees need to be aware of their ongoing requirements. If the Trust is liable to tax for any tax year, you must declare on the trust register that the details of the persons associated with the Trust are accurate and up to date. You must do this whether there have been any changes or not.

If the Trust is liable to Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax, you’ll also need to confirm on the Trust’s Self-Assessment return SA900 that you’ve either:

  • updated the details on the trust register
  • confirmed that there have been no changes to the Trust on the trust register

If the Trust is not liable to tax, HMRC does not need an annual declaration.

Once registered, third parties who deal with the Trust, such as financial planning firms like us, will need to see proof of registration as part of the standard money laundering and ID checks that take place. A downloadable PDF can be obtained through the TRS as evidence.

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