Useful information on general record keeping in relation to the Trust Registration Service.

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Regulation 44(1) of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 sets out details of written records that trustees are required to keep, and maintain as accurate and up to date, on all the actual and potential beneficial owners of the trust.

The beneficial owners include all trustees, settlors, beneficiaries or any person who has control over the trust.

Whilst most trusts are now likely to need to register on the Trust Registration Service, there is no compulsion for trustees of excluded trusts, which have not incurred a tax liability, to register. However, trustees of such trusts may wish to consider registering voluntarily to enable the general record keeping that they are required to undertake to be recorded and be available, should it be requested by a relevant law enforcement authority.

The general record keeping required to be retained is as follows:

Contact details for the trust:

  • A contact address for the trustees
  • Details of advisers to the trust (the full name and address of any advisers who are being paid to provide legal, financial or tax advice to the trustees in relation to the trust)

Beneficial owners who are individuals:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • Address (if a National Insurance number cannot be provided.)

If the address is not in the UK, passport or identification card details of the beneficial owner should be recorded, including the number, country of issue and the expiry date. If the individual does not have a passport or identification card, the number, country of issue and expiry date of any equivalent form of identification should be retained.

Beneficial owners who are companies:

  • The name of the company or business
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference
  • The registered or principal office of the company
  • The legal form of the entity and the law by which it is governed
  • The name of the register of companies and the company’s registration number (where applicable)

Where there is a class of beneficiaries:

  • Description of the class of beneficiaries

Trusts are often set up for the benefit of a class of unnamed beneficiaries. To be a valid trust, this class must be identifiable. For example, a trust could be set up for the benefit of ‘all children of X’.

Maintaining trust documentation

Trustees should also ensure that they keep the original trust documents and and deeds and other documents that are subsequently executed. It may also be worth keeping copies (certified copies, if appropriate). Documents should be kept in a safe place that is accessible by all trustees. It may also be appropriate to store such documents electronically.

Trust documents are important documents and it can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive to replace them.

The above information must be made available to a law enforcement authority, if requested. Further details are available in HMRC’s Trust Registration Service Manual here.