HMRC Trust Registration Service

Mercian Accountants is a UK-based accountancy firm that provides a range of services to individuals and businesses. With a team of experienced professionals, we are committed to delivering high-quality advice and support to our clients.

One of the key areas we specialise in is the administration and taxation of trusts. In particular, we can assist trustees with their obligations under the Trust Registration Service (TRS), which the UK Government introduced to comply with EU Money Laundering legislation.

This article will provide an overview of the TRS, its registration requirements, and some common issues and challenges that trustees may face. We will also explain how Mercian Accountants can help trustees to navigate the TRS registration process and ensure compliance with their obligations.

Overview of the Trust Registration Service (TRS)

The TRS is an online register administered by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and is designed to provide greater transparency around the ownership and control of trusts. It was introduced in 2017 as part of the UK’s implementation of the EU Fourth Money Laundering Directive (4MLD). It required all EU member states to establish a central register of beneficial ownership information for trusts.

Under the TRS, trustees must provide certain information about their trusts, such as the names and addresses of the settlors, trustees, and beneficiaries, as well as details of any assets held by the trust. Law enforcement agencies then use the information to help detect and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

Types of trusts that need to register with the TRS

Since introducing the TRS, the registration requirements have expanded to include more types of trusts. Initially, only trusts with a tax liability were required to register. Still, since implementing the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD), most trusts, including non-taxable trusts, must register with the TRS.

Examples of trusts that now need to register include trusts holding investment bonds, trusts holding properties in which beneficiaries live, and trusts where the beneficiary receives income directly rather than flowing through the trust.

How to register with the TRS

Registering a trust with the TRS is an online process and involves entering the required information into the Trust Register administered by HMRC. There are different deadlines for registration depending on whether the trust is new or existing and whether any changes have been made to the trust. For example, existing trusts on or after 6 October 2020 must register by 1 September 2022, while new trusts created after 5 June 2022 must register within 90 days.

Penalties for non-compliance

HMRC has advised that they will initially take a ‘soft landing’ approach to penalties for not undertaking the relevant actions within the required timescales. However, trustees should be aware of potential penalties for failing to comply with the registration requirements, including fines and legal action.

How Mercian Accountants can help

At Mercian Accountants, we can assist trustees in meeting their obligations under the TRS. Our team of experienced professionals can provide guidance on how to register a trust with the TRS, what information is required, and how to avoid potential penalties for non-compliance. We can advise on all trust administration and tax compliance issues related to UK trusts and their creation, amendment, and termination.

By seeking professional advice from Mercian Accountants, trustees can ensure that their trusts are structured and administered in the most tax-efficient way possible while complying with their obligations under the TRS and other relevant regulations.

We can assist in completing a trust’s TRS registration, whether or not we are among the trustees.  Our fee for this work depends on the complexity of the trust. 

With the increased compliance formalities that apply to trusts, if you are a trustee and haven’t taken advice in the last couple of years, then now is the time to do so. If you have any questions relating to trusts or their taxation, please get in touch with us today.