Do I need to register my Trust with HMRC?

Most Trusts must be registered with HMRC to ensure that the Trustees, and the Trust itself, are complying with anti-money laundering regulations. In this blog we focus on the registration of non-taxable Trusts, which is a Trust that has no UK tax liability. Below we set out some key information in respect of registering a non-taxable Trust with HMRC. Trusts can be a tricky concept and so it is always encouraged to seek professional advice in respect of whether a specific Trust needs to be registered or not.

What types of non-taxable Trusts need to be registered with HMRC?

Prior to a change in September 2021, only taxable Trusts were subject to registration, however, following a change in the HMRC rules, there is now a requirement for most non-taxable express Trusts to be registered too. An express Trust is a type of Trust which is created deliberately by the Settlor (the person who created the Trust) and there will usually be a document, such as Deed, which creates the Trust. Express Trusts can be made either during the lifetime of the Settlor or they can be created on their death if their Will creates a Trust.

There are, however, some exceptions to the types of non-taxable express Trusts that need to be registered. Schedule 3A of The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 sets out specifically the types of Trust that are excluded from the registration requirements. It is important that you check to see whether the type of non-taxable Trust you are considering falls into any of the exclusions.

How do I register a Trust with HMRC?

Trusts need to be registered with HMRC using their online Trust Registration Service (TRS). The Trustees need to make an account to do this and then input and submit all of the information required. You should then be issued with a Unique Reference Number (URN) for the non-taxable Trust.

Once the Trust is set up on the TRS, the Trustees are then responsible for keeping the information on there up to date, as and when anything changes. It is important to remember that the responsibility to keep the TRS information up to date is an ongoing responsibility and should be done as part of the administration of the Trust.

Who is responsible for registering a Trust with HMRC?

It is the responsibility of the Trustees to ensure that the Trust is registered with HMRC.

Does it matter when the non-taxable Trust was made?

  • Non-taxable Trusts created on or before 06 October 2020 should have been registered on or before 01 September 2022.
  • Non-taxable Trusts created after 06 October 2020 should be registered within 90 days of the Trust being created or it no longer being excluded under Schedule 3A mentioned above.

What happens if I do not register a Trust in time? 

If a Trustee deliberately fails to register a Trust on time or fails to keep the Trust Registration Service information up to date, HMRC may impose a fixed penalty of up to £5,000. Before deciding to charge a penalty. HMRC will consider whether the failure was deliberate. As such, whether HMRC charge a penalty is considered on a case-by-case basis.

How can Thornton Jones help?

Thornton Jones can assist in dealing with the registration of Trusts on the Trust Registration Service on behalf of the Trustees. We are also able to provide Trustees with advice in respect of the ongoing administration of the Trust. If you do require any professional advice or assistance with all manner of Trust queries, then please do contact a member of the Team.

What is a trustee of a Will UK?

A Trustee is a person who will manage the money or assets that have been appointed to another individual and will decide when and how the inheritance will be allocated to the beneficiary. The trustee must act in the best interests of the beneficiary or beneficiaries and follow the terms as they are laid out in the Will.

What is the difference between a settlor and a trustee?

The settlor is the person who sets up the trust, who owns the trust and reserves the right to amend or revoke the trust. The settlor also specifies who will be the trustee, who should benefit from the trust assets, and under what circumstances.

What is an Express Trust UK?

An express trust, that is a trust that is intentionally made by the settlor, is any trust created deliberately by a settlor in express terms. The opposite of an express trust, in legal terms, is an implied trust, which is implied by the circumstances.

The settlor is the person who puts assets into a trust.

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About the Author

Francesca joined Thornton Jones Solicitors in August 2020 and has worked across various departments as part of her training contract. Having qualified as a solicitor in February 2023, she has now joined our Private Client Team.

In 2018, Francesca completed her history degree and then went on to complete the Law Conversion Course and Legal Practice Course and then trained with us. Francesca gained a lot of experience in the Private Client team during her training contract and worked alongside the Team with a variety of cases. She is now looking forward to building on that knowledge and expertise.

Outside of work, Francesca enjoys cooking and socialising with her friends. She also enjoys travelling and will often be jetting off at the first opportunity!

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The content of this blog post is for information only and does not constitute formal legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Thornton Jones Solicitors Limited accepts no liability for any such reliance upon this content. Where the post includes links to external websites, Thornton Jones Solicitors Limited accepts no responsibility for the content of such sites. Any link to a third party website should not be construed as endorsement by Thornton Jones Solicitors Limited of any content, products or services which are outside our direct control. 

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