All lifetime trusts and some Will trusts need to be registered. This includes trusts which have been closed since October 2020. There are a few exceptions to registration, including trusts set up to benefit vulnerable persons which are not subject to the registration requirement. You should take advice before deciding not to register your trust.

You are responsible for making the decision about whether the trust needs to be registered with HMRC, for nominating a Lead Trustee and for registration of the trust within 90 days of its creation. You are also responsible for notifying HMRC of any relevant changes within 90 days of these occurring.

Trusts are registered online, using the government’s Trust Registration Service. Data such as names, addresses and dates of birth must be added for the Settlor(s), Trustees and all beneficiaries. Details of assets held and their value as well as details of any income may also need to be provided. There are also some questions about the type of trust and a number of other technicalities.

Yes you can. You will need to create a separate  Government Gateway ID first. You will then need to gather registration information about the trust including:

  • the name of the Trust
  • when it was established
  • up-to-date information about the Settlors, including any deceased Settlor
  • up-to-date information about all the Trustees
  • confirmation of the Lead Trustees full details
  • up-to-date information about all the beneficiaries
  • detailed information about trust assets and their value
  • information about relationships with businesses within the EU

All Trustees are deemed to be equally responsible for the Trust, but must appoint a lead trustee who becomes the main contact and responsible for receiving the trust Unique Tax Reference (UTR) if it is a taxable trust, or the Unique Reference Number (URN)  if it is a non-taxable trust.

The Lead Trustee’s initial responsibility is for the registration of the trust and providing all the information required for the trust to be registered. The lead trustee then has an ongoing responsibility for keeping the trust information up to date for any changes in assets trustees or beneficiaries. For Trustees who are experienced with the workings of HMRC’s online facilities this will be relatively straight forward but it will still be useful to know some of the rules that will apply to the Trust.

Trusts which have been closed but were still existing on or after 6 October 2020 must still be registered.

All trusts which have a tax liability, or become liable to pay capital gains tax (CGT), inheritance tax (IHT) or income tax (IT), have a legal requirement to submit a tax return. If the trust does have a tax liability but it is covered by a relief or exemption, the trust does still need to be registered so the relief or exemption may be claimed through HMRC’s self-assessment system. If your trust has an income (for example rental on a property held in trust) then an annual tax return must be submitted even if there is no tax to pay because the income does not exceed expenses.

All trustees have a legal duty to nominate a Lead Trustee and register the Trust. HMRC have stipulated that while they recognise that trust registration is a new and unfamiliar obligation for trustees, any deliberate non-compliance with the registration requirements may result in a fine of £5,000 per offence.