There have recently been some important changes to the TRS that you need to know about.
We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to help support you.
If you have any queries or need help with the registration process, please visit gov.uk/guidance/register-a-trust-as-a-trustee or call the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Trustee helpline on 0300 123 1072.
Please note: The information provided is based on our understanding of current legislation and HMRC practice, which can change. It is correct as at February 2023.
The TRS was originally launched by HMRC in 2017 as part of the UK’s implementation of the Fourth Money Laundering Directive (4MLD). The TRS is a register of the beneficial ownership of trusts and replaced the paper 41G form.
Since then trustees have been required to register on TRS, where a trust is liable to pay any of the following taxes: Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax (Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland) or Stamp Duty Reserve Tax.
New legislation has now come into force, meaning that the majority of UK resident trusts in existence on or after 6 October 2020 must now register on the service, regardless of whether they have any tax liability.
LV= related trusts that will now need to register include:
Other trusts that will now need to register include:
Overseas express trusts that:
* If executed (dated) prior to 6 October 2020, registration will only be required when and if the trust receives the lump sum pension death benefit.
** Note that an in-force Protection Plan does not need to register when it has a surrender value that has not been realised.
*** If the trust has been paid the proceeds of a death claim, the trustees will need to register the trust if it still holds any of the proceeds two years after the date of death. For terminal illness and critical illness claims the trustees will need to register the trust within 90 days of receiving the claim proceeds. There will be no need to register if, at the direction of the trustees, we are instructed to pay the claim directly to a trust beneficiary(ies).
**** An express trust is defined by HMRC as a trust created deliberately by a settlor, so covers almost all types of trust commonly used in the UK.
Certain trusts are excluded from the trust registration requirements. This is because these trusts are considered a lower risk of money laundering or terrorist financing due to other registration and regulatory requirements.
However, a trust that is excluded from registration is nevertheless still required to register if it has a liability to UK taxation.
LV= related trusts that do not need to register include:
Other trusts that are currently excluded for registration include:
More about excluded express trusts can be found at gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/trust-registration-service-manual/trsm23000
All trustees are equally responsible for the trust, but a ‘lead trustee’ must be nominated to register and update the TRS and will be the contact point for HMRC. The trustees will need to discuss and decide who will be the lead trustee for the trust.
The lead trustee will receive the trust’s Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) if registering a taxable trust and a Unique Reference Number (URN) if registering a non-taxable trust.
Trustees can appoint an agent to register and manage a trust on the trustees’ behalf. However, the responsibility for registration and ensuring the trust details maintained on TRS are up to date remains with the trustees.
Non-taxable trusts that were created on or before 6 October 2020 must register on or before 1 September 2022.
Non-taxable trusts created after 6 October 2020 must register by the later of 1 September 2022 or within 90 days of creation.
The TRS record must be kept up to date. The information on TRS must be updated within 90 days of the date that the trustees become aware of changes to the trust details or beneficial ownership - for example, if the settlor dies, or there is a change of trustees and/or beneficiaries.
If the trust is taxable, you must declare the trust is up to date on an annual basis by 31 January.
Before you can register a trust as a trustee, you need to have an Organisation Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have one, you can create one the first time you register. You’ll need a Government Gateway user ID for each trust you want to register.
Trustees can then register and make changes to a trust online at the below locations:
To register a trust on TRS, you’ll need:
Details of the trust:
Settlor(s) details (the person who set up the trust):
Lead trustee details:
Classes of beneficiaries (a group of individuals who are not yet known or named individually):
Beneficiaries that are a charity or trust:
If the trust later becomes taxable further details about the trust and the assets it holds will be needed. HMRC will then provide a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), which will replace the Unique Reference Number (URN) initially issued.
If the trust is connected to an overseas jurisdiction (such as in the EEA), it may need to be registered there as well. Advice from a local tax expert in that jurisdiction should be sought to understand any requirements.
It is the trustees duty to retain a copy of the trust deed and store this carefully. However, if this is mislaid, we may be able to provide a copy from our records.
As part of a recent upgrade to a new document storage system, we temporarily have only basic search functionality to some records. This means that in some cases, it may not be possible to provide a copy of your trust documentation by the 1 September registration deadline.
In these circumstances, you should speak to your financial adviser who should be able to provide you with a copy.
If this is not possible, you should register using the information that is available by the 1 September deadline, correcting any errors once a copy of the trust documentation has been located.
Where failure to register or failure to keep the information up to date is due to deliberate behaviour on the part of the trustees, a £5,000 penalty may be charged per offence.
In practice, should HMRC become aware of a registerable trust for which the information on the TRS is missing or has become out of date, HMRC may issue a warning letter to the trustee or agent in the first instance (unless the omission is due to deliberate behaviour on the part of the trustees). This is in recognition of the fact that the registration requirement is a new and unfamiliar obligation for many trustees.