What is the process to use Trustee Support Services to register a trust?

“The process to register a trust can be complicated but with our expert trustee support, we will register your trust in the right way”
process to register a trust

The process – a step-by-step guide

To arrange for Trustee Support Services Ltd (TSS) to register your trust(s) on HMRC’s Trust Registration Service (TRS), you will need to take the following steps :-

  1. On our website:
    • Register as a user. This creates a secure account to enable us to communicate with you securely. We will also place the various documents involved in the registration of the trust into your secure account for you to download and notify you that you have documents awaiting review. There is a button at the bottom of this page to create your account or click on this link.. You only need to open one secure account, even if you have multiple trusts to register.

    • Once registered and logged in to your account, complete our Trustee Questionnaire with details of the trust and connected parties (including the settlor(s), trustees and beneficiaries). This questionnaire can be completed online and in stages (by saving it and revisiting). The questionnaire asks you to send us a copy of the trust deed or instrument, if you wish to. Please also supply any supplementary documents such as deeds of appointment and/ or retirement of trustees or deeds changing beneficiaries or their shares, so that any changes to trustees and/ or beneficiaries can be identified. Documents can be uploaded in the Trustee Questionnaire or emailed to us.

      If multiple trusts, with similar details, require registering (for example, following Rysaffe planning), information from one Trustee Questionnaire can be automatically transferred to a new questionnaire, meaning that only information that is different (such as the trust name and trust date) needs to be updated for each subsequent trust (see 6. below).

    • Depending on the trust being registered, we may ask you to supply further information. You can save the questionnaire at any stage during completion and then come back to it later to continue. We will provide you with a URL to reopen the questionnaire (you can also use a different computer or device) and continue completion.

    • Once the Trustee Questionnaire is completed and ready for submission, we will ask you to confirm that you have read and accept our terms of business and to make payment of the fee for our services. Our fee for trust registration is £200 + VAT (£240 including VAT) per trust. Payment of this fee is the responsibility of the trustees. If the trustees do not have a trustee bank account, the following options could be considered:

      (i) Provided the settlor is not a beneficiary under the trust, the settlor could make this payment on behalf of the trustees. This would be a further gift to the trust but the £3,000 annual inheritance tax exemption (but not the £250 small gifts exemption, unless the trust is a bare trust) may be available.

      (ii) A beneficiary under the trust could make the payment. However, if this payment were made as a gift to the trust, tax complications could arise to the beneficiary as they would then be treated as a settlor. To avoid these complications, the payment by the beneficiary should be documented as a loan to the trust.

      (iii) A trustee could make the payment as a loan to the trust.

      A specimen loan agreement for an interest-free loan, repayable on demand, is available using this link: Specimen Loan Agreement.

      Advice should be taken from professional advisers if the parties are in any doubt as to the tax and legal implications of making gifts or granting loans. Click on this link for some further information on these implications.

  2. You can choose to make payment through our website by credit, debit or charge card through Stripe. You do not need an account with Stripe to make payments through them. You can also choose to pay by bank transfer or by cheque (these may delay the processing of the Trustee Questionnaire) – the relevant bank details or address to which to send the cheque are shown on the screen when you select the relevant payment method. Please also ensure that you add the reference in the format supplied to ensure that we can reconcile your payment with the Trustee Questionnaire.

  3. Please click on the Submit button at the bottom of the page when you are ready to send the Trustee Questionnaire to us. If you have elected to pay our fee by credit, debit or charge card, the Stripe payment page will then open.

  4. We will review the questionnaire and trust deed or instrument and other documents (if supplied) and come back to you, via your secure account, by phone or by email, if we require any further information or to clarify any points.

  5. Once we are satisfied that we have all the information we require, we will proceed to register the trust on the TRS. Confirmation of registration will then be sent to you by email and the various documents generated during the registration process will be uploaded into your secure account on our website. These documents include the user ID for the trust’s unique Government Gateway account, the trust’s URN (Unique Reference Number), if the trust is has not previously incurred a tax liability, or UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference), if the trust has previously incurred a tax liability.

    The UTR enables the trustees to submit a self-assessment SA900 Trust & Estate tax return. We  provide you with a copy of your completed registration and login details to the TRS to enable the trustees to maintain the trust’s registration in the future. These details will be needed to log in to the TRS to maintain the trust’s records.

    We also provide you with a certificate of registration which shows brief details about the trust and is a digitally signed (by HMRC) document. From 1 September 2022, you may be asked to provide this document to some financial institutions and intermediaries as proof that the trust has been registered on the TRS.

    You will need to change some details on your Government Gateway account. We will provide you with details of the information that needs to be changed and how to do this when we confirm that your trust has been registered on the TRS.

    HMRC applies 2 factor authentication when you log in to the trust’s government gateway account. This is provided to us the first time that you log in (as one of our phone numbers was used to set up the government gateway account) so please call us when you are about to log in so that we can give you the access code. We will also walk you through the process to replace our phone number with your number(s). Once this has been done, access codes will be sent to the phone number(s) that you have selected. Multiple numbers can be added, both mobile and landlines. We would recommend that all trustees’ numbers are added so that they can, if needed, access the trust’s government gateway account.

  6. If the trustees have multiple trusts requiring registration, that all have similar information, each trust must be registered separately on the TRS. When opening a new Trustee Questionnaire on our website for each subsequent trust, you can copy across the details from a previous Trustee Questionnaire held in your secure account by reopening this questionnaire (click on the link under Documents in My Account) and inserting the Entry ID number (shown in the bottom left hand corner of each page of the completed questionnaire) in the box at the top of the new Trustee Questionnaire. If the Entry ID is not displayed on the page, it can also be found at the end of the document’s URL in the page’s address bar (typically a 4 digit number). You can then simply check and  amend details that are different for the new trust. For some trusts, this could be as little as changing the trust name and trust date .

    For example, if the settlor, Joe Bloggs, created 3 separate discretionary trusts on 3 different days, each with the same trustees, beneficiaries and assets, to perform Rysaffe (multiple trust) planning, with the first trust created on, say, 4 May 2018, the second on, say, 5 May 2018 and the third on, say, 6 May 2018, the first Trustee Questionnaire could be completed for The Joe Bloggs No 1 Discretionary Trust with a trust date of 4 May 2018.

    The information in the completed questionnaire can then be copied across to the second Trustee Questionnaire, using the process above, and the trust name is then amended to The Joe Bloggs No 2 Discretionary Trust and the trust date to 5 May 2018. Assuming no further changes are required, this Trustee Questionnaire can then be submitted to us and a separate record is created in your secure account. A similar process can then be followed for the third trust.

Important points

Important points

  1. We will only register trusts when we have all relevant information. If the trustees cannot supply further details within 30 days of being requested, we reserve the right to decline to register the trust and will then refund 50% of the initial fee. The other 50% of the fee is used to cover our incurred administration costs.

  2. We act as an agent of the trustees in registering the trust. Any subsequent changes to the trust that need to be notified on the TRS will be the responsibility of the trustees, as is the general administration of the trust. We can, however, also offer bespoke consultancy services, if required. Please contact us to discuss.

  3. We are happy to register trusts with trustees who are UK tax resident individuals. However, TSS will not register a trust with:
    • Professional trustees;
    • Corporate trustees; or
    • Non-UK resident trustees (typically “offshore trusts”)

unless prior agreement is obtained from ourselves.

After the trust is registered

Once your trust has been registered on the TRS, the trustees are responsible for ensuring the the registered information remains accurate and up to date. The Trust Register must be updated within 90 days of the date of a change to avoid possible enforcement action from HMRC.

If the trust was registered as a taxable trust (it will have a UTR rather than a URN), the trustees have a duty to make a formal declaration on the Trust Register that the registered details during the previous tax year were accurate and up to date. This declaration must be completed by 31 January following the end of the relevant tax year.

When we confirm the trust’s registration, we provide you with a document (by email and in your secure account) setting out instructions on how to update government gateway accounts and the Trust Register.

HMRC has also produced some cards with step-by-step instructions on how to perform certain tasks to update a trust’s details. Please click on the links below to view the relevant card:

Please feel free to contact us if you would like us to update the trust’s details on behalf of the trustees – our fee for this will be based on a ‘time spent’ basis.