Are you a trustee?

01 August 2022

3 minute read

New rules from 1 September 2022 will require most new and existing trusts to register with HMRC.

That means that if you are a trustee, you need to take action by the end of August.

Here’s what you need to know about the rule changes, if they apply to you and if so, what you need to do.

Why are things changing?

Until now only trusts with a tax liability needed to register with HMRC. The idea is that having a record of trustees – via the UK Government’s Trust Register - can help stamp out tax evasion and money laundering. The register aims to provide greater transparency around the ownership of trust assets and individuals connected with trusts.

To maximise transparency, all trusts must register from September – regardless of whether or not they have a tax bill to pay.

The rule change is from the UK implementation of provisions within the Fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

Is the new legislation for ‘all’ trusts?

The rule changes apply to so-called ‘express’ trusts; which are those set up by a person, rather than a court or through legislation, for instance those applying intestacy rules. Certain trusts are excluded and are not required to register, unless they are liable to pay UK tax – these include:

  • Charitable trusts
  • Trusts for bereaved minors or adults aged 18-25
  • Those used to hold life policies

If you’re unsure if a trust should be registered, check with a solicitor, accountant, financial adviser or other professional adviser.

What do I need to do?

Registration can be done by the trustees themselves.

If they want to do the registration themselves, trustees should register a trust as a trustee at www.gov.uk, which is the entry point for the registration system.

A Government Gateway user ID and password will need to be set up for each trust being registered. While taxable trusts get issued with a UTR (tax unique reference number, non-taxable trusts are issued with a URN (unique reference number).

It is also possible to ask an accountant or lawyer to complete the registration.

What information is needed to register?

You’ll need details about the trusts as well as trustees, settlors and beneficiaries. While HMRC deems all trustees as being equally legally responsible for the trust, you must nominate one ‘lead’ trustee to be the main point of contact for HMRC. All trustees must provide details such as their name, date of birth, country of residence and nationality. The lead trustee will also need to provide a telephone number, National Insurance number and address if they’re a UK citizen, or passport details and address if they’re not a UK citizen.

For the trust, you’ll need the name of the trust, the date it was created, to say if the trust is an express trust or not, details about whether a non-UK trust has a business relationship in the UK and details about any UK land or property the trust has purchased.

What if I miss the deadline?

HMRC can issue a fine, starting at £100 and rising the longer the failure to register continues.

For existing trusts without a tax liability, the new deadline is 1 September 2022. But for new trusts, trustees will have 90 days to register. They will be known as ‘registrable express trusts’.

Next steps

Speak to your Wealth Manager or contact us if you would like to arrange a meeting with a Wealth Planner.

This article does not constitute personal financial, tax or legal advice. Each person’s circumstances are different so if you're unsure about investing, you should speak to your Wealth Manager.

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