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The rules around UK trusts are changing and many now need to be registered with HMRC to avoid penalties.

In 2017, the government introduced the Trust Register to provide greater transparency around the ownership of assets and the individuals connected with trusts. Essentially, trusts that incurred a tax liability in the UK needed to be registered. Now new rules have come into force that mean more types of trusts now need to be registered by 1 September 2022.

What does registration mean?

Trustees need to provide details of the trustees (dates of birth and addresses), beneficiaries (class of beneficiary, names, dates of birth and addresses), settlors (names, dates of birth, countries of residence and dates of death if appropriate) and assets held (valuations).
Going forward, trustees are also required to keep the information up-to-date or confirm annually there have been no changes.

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Which trusts now need to be registered?

HMRC guidelines state that the following types of trusts must now be registered, even if they have no tax liability:

  • all UK express trusts — unless they are specifically excluded
  • non-UK express trusts, for example trusts that:
    • acquire land or property in the UK
    • have at least one trustee resident in the UK and enter into a ‘business relationship’ within the UK

An ‘express’ trust is one which is created on purpose by a settlor (a person putting assets into a trust) rather than one which is created through something like a court decision. An example would include a family discretionary trust.

When do trusts need to be registered by?

Existing trusts which are not exempt must be registered by 1 September 2022. Trusts created after this date must be registered within 90 days of creation.

Are there any exclusions?

Some trusts will still be exempt from registration. These include trusts imposed by statute and trusts relating to pensions, charities and vulnerable beneficiaries for example. We would be happy to supply a full list of exemptions.

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Who should register the trust?

It is the responsibility of the trustee who should register the trust, not the person who created it (the settlor). Registration is online and can be made via www.gov.uk/guidance/register-a-trust-as-a-trustee.

Is there help available?

Please speak to your adviser or accountant if you require help in this area. Medical Family Finance can refer you to our associate company Sandison Lang Ltd who provide a registration service.

Sandison Lang provides specialist medical accountancy services. If you would like to find out more about trusts or the registration service, please contact senior tax adviser Barry Espley at Sandison Lang via barry.espley@sandisonlang.com or 01732 365351.

Taxation and Trust planning are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Trust registration services do not form part of the Quilter proposition and are undertaken by our associated company Sandison Lang Ltd. Neither Medical Family Finance nor Quilter Financial Planning can accept liability for work undertaken by Sandison Lang Ltd.