Have you registered your trusts?

The deadline is approaching to register your trusts with the UK Trust Registration Service (TRS).

What is the TRS?

The TRS was set up in 2017 as part of an EU directive aimed at combatting money laundering, serious crime and terrorist financing. The UK agreed to maintain the TRS as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. 

What has to be registered?

Here are the trusts you need to register:

  • UK express trusts that came into existence on or after 6 October 2020, including any that have since closed
  • Offshore trusts if they have at least one UK resident trustee or they acquire land or property in the UK
  • Non-taxable trusts created after September 2022 (these must be registered within 90 days)
  • Estates where the administration has continued for more than two years
  • Complex estates where the total tax liability for the entire administration period exceeds £10,000, the probate gross value exceeds £2.5 million, or the value of the assets sold in any one tax year exceeds £500,000 (the deadlines are different for registering complex estates – please ask us for advice)

Are there any exclusions?

These are some (but not all) of the trusts that do not need to be registered:

  • Charitable trusts
  • Registered pension schemes
  • Policy trusts due to pay out on death or critical illness
  • Trusts with a value of less than £100 that were created before 6 October 2020
  • Trusts which are already registered in another EU Member State
  • Will trusts that are wound up within two years of death

You’ll find a full list of exclusions on the Government website at Gov.uk

I’m a trustee. How do I register a trust?

Trustees can choose a lead trustee to do the registration, but it’s best to appoint an experienced trust administrator who is specifically trained to gather the information required to complete the TRS process and register the trust for you. That’s one of the ways we can help. 

When is the deadline?

You have until 1 September 2022 to register information about your trusts. 

What information needs to be included?

  • Lead trustee
  • Co-trustees
  • Settlors (the person/people who established the trust)
  • Beneficiaries (because HMRC wants an accurate picture of who can benefit from a trust)

What if something changes?

You must update your TRS details within 90 days if:

  • The trust becomes liable to Income Tax trust or Capital Gains Tax
  • There are any changes to details of trustees, beneficiaries or settlors

Who needs to know that my trust has been registered?

Anyone you instruct to act for you, such as your estate agent and conveyancer when you sell a property that’s held in trust. To show your registration is up to date, you can download a certificate from the register. 

Who can access my data?

The only people who can access your data are those with a ‘legitimate interest’, such as law enforcement agencies investigating money laundering or the financing of terrorist activities.

If there is a disproportionate risk of exposing you to fraud, blackmail or intimidation, HMRC can refuse access.

Information about your beneficiaries will not be disclosed if there is a risk of fraud, kidnapping, blackmail, extortion, harassment, violence or intimidation, or where a beneficiary is a minor or otherwise legally incapable. 

What if I don’t register?

It’s a legal obligation. HMRC may impose penalties and fines if you fail to register a trust or you don’t update the details every year or when changes occur. For a first offence, they will send a ‘nudge letter’. The proposed penalty for any subsequent offences is £100. If trustees deliberately ignore the registration requirements, HMRC will enforce more stringent penalties. There is an appeal process. 

For more information, please click the green button or contact Kate Handel – she’s a member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners.

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