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A Guide to the UK Trusts Register

February 2022

If you’re a trustee, or you administer or benefit from a trust, it’s important that you understand how the introduction of the UK Trusts Register may affect you and your trust

The Register was introduced in June 2017 and at that time trusts were only required to be registered where there was a UK tax liability. In October 2020, new legislation was introduced to capture all trusts, regardless of whether they have a UK tax liability.  The Trust Registration Service (TRS) finally opened for the registration of non-taxable trusts.

The Trust Register is now the only way that trusts can be notified to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for self-assessment tax purposes. It is imperative that trustees of all new and existing trusts (whether UK based or offshore) assess whether they fall within the registration requirements and take action. Registration must be done on non-income bearing trusts by end of September 2022.

Non-UK trusts will also be required to register if they have UK tax liabilities. In addition to this, non-UK trusts are required to register if at least one of the trustees is a UK resident and where the trustees enter into a business relationship with a UK service provider (for example lawyers, accountants and investment managers), or acquire an interest in land in the UK.

The Trust Registration Deadlines

If a trust has a UK tax liability and has not previously been registered with HMRC, it must be electronically registered within:

  • 90 days of creation
  • Two years of death if a will trust.

A trust which does not have a UK tax liability must be registered before September 2022. After September 2022, the trust must be registered within the same deadlines as the trust with a UK Tax liability (within 90 days of creation or within two years of death if a will trust).

Access to the Register

The register is not accessible to the public. It can only be accessed by:

  • UK law enforcement authorities
  • EEA financial intelligence units
  • Agencies responsible for enforcing the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive in EEA states.

Trusts that are Excluded

Trusts that are specifically excluded from the requirement to register include but are not limited to:-

  • Trusts imposed by legislation or court order.
  • Estates (apart from registrable complex estates) and trusts created on death that are only in existence for a period of two years from the date of death.
  • Charitable trusts.
  • Trusts where a disabled person is the beneficiary.

Registering a Trust

Responsibility for registration falls with the trustees. If you’re a trustee and would like any further information about registration, please contact our team for more information about how we can help.

Information that must be Registered

The information required covers the trust itself, its beneficial owners and any potential beneficiaries:

Trust Details

  • The full name of the trust
  • The date on which the trust was set up
  • A statement of accounts for the trust, describing the trust assets and identifying the value of each category of the trust assets at the date of settlement
  • The trust’s tax residence
  • Where the trust is administered
  • The trustees’ contact address
  • The full name of any advisers acting on behalf of the trustees for their tax affairs.

Beneficial Owners & Potential Beneficiaries

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • The nature of the individual’s role in relation to the trust
  • National Insurance Number or unique taxpayer reference (if any).

For individuals without a National Insurance Number or unique taxpayer reference, you must provide their usual residential address.

If this address is not in the UK, you must also include the number, country of issue and expiry date of their passport or identification card. If the individual does not have either a passport or identification card, you must include the same details for any equivalent form of identification.

Requirements after Registration

Trustees must maintain accurate and up-to-date written records of the beneficial owners of the trust and of its potential beneficiaries.

Trustees of registered trusts must notify HMRC if details they have supplied (apart from asset values) change during years when the trust is taxable.