HMRC introduces new Trust Register Service processes

HMRC has introduced new processes for trustees and their agents to register trusts on the Trust Register Service (TRS) in the UK which will be implemented on 1 September 2022.  

Deadlines for registering a trust

The deadline for registering most trusts on the TRS is 1 September 2022. More information on the trusts that need to register and the trusts that are excluded can be found at Trusts and Estates: detailed information. Further detailed technical information can also be found in the Trust Registration Service Manual

You may wish to ensure that clients know that HMRC does not charge a fee for the registration of trusts. The service is free and designed to enable lay trustees to register their trusts, although it also enables agents to act on behalf of trustees. 

HMRC has confirmed that there will be no penalty for a first offence of failure to register or late registration, unless that failure is shown to be due to deliberate behaviour. For deliberate failure to register a trust or failure to keep the register up to date, a GBP5000 penalty may be charged. More information on penalties can be found on the HMRC internal manual.

Reporting a discrepancy in TRS data

From 1 September 2022, ‘Relevant Persons’ must ask trustees or agents who are engaging in a new business relationship with them to provide proof of registration on the TRS. A Relevant Person is an organisation working in a professional capacity that carries out due diligence checks under anti-money laundering regulations. A Relevant Person is required to report a discrepancy in TRS data in the proof of registration document to HMRC.

Discrepancy Reporting guidance has been published in TRSM70000. Gov.uk guidance will be available by 1 September 2022.  

Trust Data Requests 

From 1 September 2022, Trust Data Requests can be submitted to HMRC. HMRC may share information on the TRS in limited circumstances with some third parties following a Trust Data Request.  

There are two types of data request:

  • Legitimate interest trust data requests where requestors must demonstrate they have a legitimate interest as they are investigating money laundering or terrorist financing, and
  • Offshore company trust data requests where requestors can ask for information about a trust that holds a controlling interest in an offshore company. 

Trust Data Request guidance has been published in TRSM60010.

STEP continues to consult with HMRC on its new policy, processes and guidance and will keep members updated accordingly. HMRC has confirmed that new Gov.uk guidance will be available by 1 September 2022.  

Previous updates can be found in the STEP news digest 4 August and STEP news digest 22 August.

Emily Deane TEP, Technical Counsel & Head of Government Affairs

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