It is almost a year since HMRC’s initial deadline for the compulsory registration of all UK trusts (with very few exceptions). It is important for all trustees of any trust based in the UK to understand the obligations that the registration requirement places on them.

The following is a quick summary of what the TRS is, and what trustees need to know:

  • The TRS is a register of the beneficial ownership of all trusts. A beneficial owner means any trustee or beneficiary of a trust based in the UK
  • HMRC’s purpose is to create a central register of all UK trusts for the purpose of recording ownership of all UK assets and to tackle money laundering
  • From October 2020 this means all taxable and now all non-taxable trusts
  • Almost all trusts created during a person’s lifetime or by a Will on death all need to be registered on the TRS
  • There are a few exclusions to registration and the full list can be found here GOV.UK

The deadline for registration was 1st September 2022, and any changes – as well as all new trusts created – should be entered on the TRS within 90 days.

HMRC have implemented a penalty scheme for failure to register and maintain trust information on the TRS. Guidance states the following:

‘Registering a trust is a new requirement and we recognise that trustees may not be familiar with the process…We will only charge you a penalty if we decide you deliberately failed to register a trust or to update its details’.

HMRC Penalties for TRS non-registration

Trustees are responsible for registration and updates to the register. They can be fined up to £5,000 for failure to do so.
Trustees should:

  • Nominate a lead trustee to gather detailed information required to be reported on the HMRC register
  • Create a new Government Gateway account
  • Submit the necessary information online

A URN (unique reference number) will be issued to the lead trustee by HMRC for non-taxable trusts. For trusts with a tax liability a UTR (unique tax reference) is issued. The trust must then be maintained and any changes notified within 90 days of their occurrence.

Trustees can also authorise an agent to carry out registration on their behalf, who will ensure the trust is correctly registered and maintained in line with current regulations as well as making sure it remains compliant as regulations change.

Contact our dedicated TRS team for advice about whether your trust requires registration. We can help by acting as agent for trustees to gather the relevant information, and to complete the online registration and updates.