Trustee Support Services Limited has been established to assist trustees with registering their trusts on HMRC's Trust Registration Service (TRS). Following the introduction of new rules, effective from 1 September 2021, most trusts are now required to register on the TRS. Existing trusts had a deadline of 1 September 2022 to be registered and any new trusts created after 4 June 2022 have 90 days from the date of the trust's creation to be registered on the TRS.
Trustees of trusts who have failed to register their trusts by the relevant deadline should still consider registering their trusts sooner rather than later. From 1 September 2022, trustees will be asked to provide proof of the trust's registration on the TRS (or its exemption from registration) when establishing a new business relationship with an 'obliged entity (also known as a UK relevant person). Obliged entities include financial institutions, such as banks, building societies, insurance companies and investment providers, and other intermediaries, such as solicitors, accountants, tax advisers and estate agents.
Some obliged entities are also likely to 'gold plate' these rules and require proof of the trust's registration (or exemption, if appropriate) on the TRS from trustees with whom they have an existing business relationship. Trustees who are unable to provide such proof may then find that they are unable to administer the trust or undertake transactions until the trust has been registered. Any such periods of limbo could disadvantage the trust's beneficiaries who could then, potentially, take action against the trustees for failing to meet their duties and responsibilities and to administer the trust properly.
We have written a blog that discusses the implications if trusts have not been registered and the actions that trustees should consider taking now.
At some stage in the future, HMRC will start enforcement action against trustees who have either failed to register their trust or, where they have registered it, to ensure that the registered details remain accurate and are kept up to date. If trustees are found to have failed in their duties, they could be subject to penalties from HMRC. It is important to remember that any penalties are levied against the trustees personally and not the trust, so such trustees are personally liable to pay the penalty. Further details on the penalties that can be applied are detailed here.