What is the Trust Registration Service?
- The Trust Registration Service (TRS) was established in 2017 in response to the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017.
- A major area of concern is that money can be “hidden” inside legal vehicles such as companies and trusts.
Changes to the Trust Registration Service
As a result, the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive introduces regulations that mean that:
- All trustees need to keep records of the details of their trusts – for example names and address of the settlor(s), trustees and beneficiaries and details of the trust assets.
- Most trustees will need to disclose certain key information on their trust(s) to HMRC by being recorded on the Trust Register (accessed through the Trust Registration Service). Trust, in this context, means a trust that is a legal vehicle.
Prior to 2017, many trusts were required to notify HMRC of their existence using Form 41(g) Trust. This was superseded in 2017 by the Trust Registration Service as an online service.
Under the initial versions of the Trust Registration Service, only trusts which had incurred a tax liability (income tax, capital gains tax (CGT), inheritance tax (IHT), stamp duty land tax (SDLT), land & buildings transaction tax (LBTT) in Scotland, land transaction tax (LTT) in Wales or stamp duty reserve tax (SDRT) were required to register, although trustees could voluntarily register other trusts. In 2018, the service was expanded to allow trustees to notify HMRC of changes to trustees, beneficiaries and the operation of the trust.
New rules enacted in the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/991), which came into effect on 6 October 2020, expanded the scope of the Trust Registration Service, leading to a requirement for many more trusts, indeed, most trusts, to register. Registration was, however, delayed whilst HMRC developed the Trust Registration Service and associated rules to enable this wider scope. The new system went live on 1 September 2021 meaning that almost all trusts are now required to be registered, even if they have not incurred a tax liability.
Exclusions to the Trust Registration Service
Some trusts, where the perceived risk of the trust being used for money laundering purposes is low, may not be required to be registered on the TRS. Such trusts are known as excluded trusts. It is important to note that, while a trust may qualify as an excluded trust at the moment, its exclusion from registration may not be permanent and the trustees may, therefore, be required to register it in the future. Trustees may, therefore, wish to consider registering an excluded trust now to prevent potential issues in the future.
Given the general requirement that trustees need to retain all information on trusts, even if a trust is excluded from registration, it may be worthwhile trustees opting to register the trust on the Trust Registration Service as this will be a very convenient way of recording all necessary information, should they be requested to provide it. Details of the information that the trustees are required to keep are available here.
Who is responsible for registering a trust?
The responsibility for registering a trust lies with the trustees. Under the new version of the Trust Registration Service, registration is also the only route now available for trustees or the personal representatives of an estate to obtain a unique taxpayer reference (UTR) to enable submission of a self-assessment SA900 Trust and Estate tax return.
How should a trustee(s) register for the Trust Registration Service?
Use the government gateway to register a trust
Each trust must be registered individually and each registration requires a separate government gateway account.
Use HMRC’s guidance for registering a trust
HMRC provides broad guidance on different types of trusts and whether they are required to register on the Trust Registration Service.
Trust Registration Deadline
Trust Registration September 2022 Deadline
Trustees of trusts created before 3 June 2022 had a deadline of 1 September 2022 by which they should have registered their trust(s). Trusts created after 3 June 2022 are required to register within 90 days of the trust’s creation date. Similarly, trustees must update their registration for any changes to the details of the trust within 90 days of the date of the change.
Trustees who may have missed the registration deadline of 1 September 2022 should still consider registering their trust(s) as soon as is practically possible to avoid possible HMRC enforcement action in the future. Trustees of unregistered trusts may also face difficulties in administering the trust as ‘obliged entities’ (also known as UK relevant persons), which include financial institutions, solicitors, accountants and other intermediaries, are required to ask for proof of a trust’s registration when establishing a new business relationship with the trustees.
Previously excluded trusts
If a trust that was previously an excluded trust incurs a tax liability, or other fails to continue to qualify as an excluded trust, the trustees should register that trust within 90 days of the date that the trust no longer qualified as an excluded trust.
Registering on the Trust Registration Service as a personal representative of a deceased person
The executors of an estate are required to register the estate on the Trust Registration Service if the estate is deemed to be a ‘complex estate’. An estate is a complex estate if any of the following apply:
- the total income tax and capital gains tax due for the administration period is more than £10,000;
- the value of the estate was more than £2.5 million at the date of death;
- the value of the estate’s assets sold by the personal representatives in any one tax year was more than £500,000 (for deaths before 6 April 2016 this limit was £250,000).
How Trustee Support Services Ltd can help trustees
Trustee Support Services can register trusts on behalf of the trustees. Our process for registering a trust is predominantly online but we are available by phone or email to answer any queries that you may have. We can also provide bespoke consultancy services to the trustees as well as drafting deeds (for example to add and/ or remove trustees, to appoint benefits to beneficiaries or to confirm other transactions) – please ask us for further details
Trustee Support Services act as agents of the trustee(s)
Once we have registered the trust on behalf of the trustees, we provide full instructions on how the trustees can take over the management of the trust’s details on the Trust Register.
Create an account with Trustee Support Services
The first step is to register as a user on our website. This creates a secure account to hold the information that you provide to us. We will also upload the details of the trust’s registration to your account once the trust has been registered. Once you have registered as a user, we will send you an email with a link to activate your account.
Complete a Trustee Questionnaire
Once you have activated and logged into your account, you can open and start completing our Trustee Questionnaire. This provides us with the details we will need to register the trust. You can also upload copies of the trust documents – if you do this, we will use these documents to cross-check the information you have provided in the Trustee Questionnaire before we proceed to register the trust.
Trustee Support Service’s fees
Our fee for trust registration is £200 + VAT (£240 including VAT) per trust.
Our fees for bespoke consultancy services and/ or drafting deeds will depend on the services that you require. We are happy to provide a quote for such work before we start it.
Anything else that you may require
Please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements – we can provide a wide range of services or, if you require services that we cannot provide, we may well be able to refer you to someone who can help.