Register a Trust as a Trustee

You must register your trust with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if it becomes liable for any of the following:

  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Income Tax
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax or Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland
  • Stamp Duty Reserve Tax

You must also register a trust to claim tax relief.

Non-resident trusts

You must register a non-resident trust if it becomes liable for:

  • tax on UK income
  • tax on UK assets

Who should register?

You must register your trust with HMRC:

  • to make sure you and the trust comply with anti-money laundering regulations
  • if you need to get a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – for example, for filling in a Self Assessment tax return for the trust, even if the trust is on the exemption list

You must register if the trust becomes or is liable for any of the following taxes:

  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Income Tax
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • Stamp Duty Reserve Tax
  • Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (in Scotland)
  • Land Transaction Tax (in Wales)

The following types of trusts must register even if they have no tax liability:

  • all UK express trusts — unless they are specifically excluded
  • non-UK express trusts, such as 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

If the trust is not resident in the UK (‘non resident trusts’), you must register the trust if it becomes liable for tax on income coming from the UK or on UK assets.

If the trust has a tax liability but this is covered by a relief, you’ll need to register the trust to claim the relief through Self Assessment.

Trusts that do not need to be registered unless they are liable to pay UK tax

You do not need to register your trust if any of the following apply, unless the trust has a liability to UK taxation:

  • the trust is used to hold money or assets of a UK registered pension scheme — such as an occupational pension scheme
  • the trust is used to hold life or retirement policies providing that the policy only pays out on death, terminal or critical illness or permanent disablement, or to meet the healthcare costs of the person assured
  • the trust is holding insurance policy benefits received after the death of the person assured — as long as the benefits are paid out from the trust within 2 years of the death
  • it is a charitable trust that is registered as a charity in the UK or which are not required to register as a charity
  • it is a ‘pilot’ trust set up before 6 October 2020 and holds no more than £100 — pilot trusts set up after 6 October 2020 will need to register
  • it is a co-ownership trust set up to hold shares of property or other assets which are jointly owned by 2 or more people for themselves as ‘tenants in common’
  • it is a will trust created by a person’s will and come into effect on their death providing they only hold the estate assets for up to 2 years after the person’s death
  • it is a trust for bereaved children under 18, or adults aged 18 to 25, set up under the will (or intestacy) of a deceased parent or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
  • it is a ‘financial’ or ‘commercial’ trust created in the course of professional services or business transactions for holding client money or other assets

Other less common types of express trusts which are set up for particular purposes are also excluded from registration unless they have to be registered because they are liable to pay tax. These are set out in the legislation and will be described in the detailed guidance.

Trusts which are not set up deliberately by a settlor but are imposed by courts or created by legislation, are not ‘express trusts’ and therefore do not have to register unless they need to obtain a UTR to complete a tax return. Examples of such trusts include a trust:

  • set up under the intestacy laws when a person dies without a valid will and the assets in the estate are held by a trust before passing to relatives
  • set up under a court order to hold compensation payments

Some financial products and arrangements with ‘Trust’ in their description, such as the Child Trust Fund or Venture Capital Trusts, are not really trusts, so do not need to be registered.

You should check with a solicitor, accountant, financial advisor or other professional advisor if you’re unsure whether a product or arrangement:

  • is a trust
  • should be registered

Further considerations for trusts that are only required to register because of a liability to UK tax

If your trust does not need to register for any reason other than having a liability to UK tax, you do not need to register it if:

  • it has to pay Income Tax of less than £100 on interest
  • only the settlor or beneficiary of the trust has to pay tax
  • it’s a bare trust
  • it holds a pension scheme already registered with HMRC

You also do not need to register your trust if you have to file information:

  • under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act
  • for Common Reporting Standard purposes

When to register

Trusts that are not taxable

The deadline for registrations for non-taxable trusts in existence on 6 October 2020 is 1 September 2022.

Non-taxable trusts created after 6 October 2020 must register within 90 days of being created or otherwise becoming registerable, or by 1 September 2022 (whichever is later).

Trusts that are taxable

The registration deadline depends on:

  • when the trust was created
  • the tax the trust is liable for
  • if it has been liable for Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax before

Taxable trusts that are created on or after 6 April 2021

Register your trust within 90 days of the trust becoming liable for tax or by 1 September 2022 (which ever is later).

Taxable trusts that were created before 6 April 2021

Trusts that are liable for Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax for the first time

Register your trust by 5 October in the tax year after the one in which the trust starts to receive any income or has capital gains, and becomes liable for Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax.

For example, if your trust received some interest for the first time in May 2019 (the 2019 to 2020 tax year) and became liable to Income Tax on it, you will need to register by 5 October 2020 (in the 2020 to 2021 tax year).

Trusts that have been liable for Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax before

Register your trust by 31 January in the tax year after the one in which the trust receives any income or has capital gains, and is liable for tax.

Trusts that are liable for other taxes

Register your trust by 31 January in the tax year after the one in which your trust has any other tax liability, such as Inheritance Tax.

If your trust is liable for more than one tax and both deadlines could apply, you must register it by the earlier of the 2 deadlines.

You may have to pay a penalty if you do not register the trust before the registration deadline.

What you’ll need

The following information is required for both taxable and non-taxable trusts. However, for taxable trusts you should check what extra information you may need to provide.

Taxable and non-taxable trusts

You’ll need:

  • the name of the trust
  • the date the trust was created
  • to say if the trust is an express trust or not
  • details about whether a non-UK trust has a business relationship in the UK
  • details about any UK land or property the trust has purchased

You should be able to find these details in the trust deed and from any correspondence that the trust has had with HMRC.

Lead trustees

All trustees are equally legally responsible for the trust, but you must nominate one ‘lead’ trustee to be the main point of contact for HMRC. The lead trustee will receive the trust’s UTR if registering a taxable trust and a URN if registering a non-taxable trust. You’ll need to keep their contact information up to date.

You’ll need to give their:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number and address (if they’re a UK citizen)
  • passport details and address (if they’re not a UK citizen)
  • telephone number
  • country of residence
  • country of nationality

If the lead trustee is an organisation, you’ll need to give their:

  • organisation name
  • organisation UTR
  • address
  • telephone number
  • email address
  • country of residence

Deceased settlors

A settlor is an individual who has put assets into a trust.

You must give their name, and if available their:

  • date of birth
  • date of death
  • last known country of residence
  • country of nationality

Other individuals and organisations

For other individuals involved in the trust including more trustees, living settlors, protectors and beneficiaries you should give their:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • country of residence
  • country of nationality
  • mental capacity at the time of registration – HMRC will assume the individual has mental capacity, unless you tell us they do not. For more information, refer to the Trust Registration Service Manual

For all other organisations involved in the trust you’ll need to give their:

  • organisation name
  • address
  • country of residence

Beneficiaries

You should give the details of all known beneficiaries who can benefit from the trust. If you have more than 25 beneficiaries in any one beneficiary type, keep a note of additional beneficiaries for your own records.

Named beneficiaries

You must give details of all individuals, trusts, charities and organisations named as beneficiaries in the deed. Some named beneficiaries will only benefit when a certain event happens, such as when another beneficiary dies. You can include these in a class of beneficiaries until the event occurs. At that point, provide their details on the register as a named beneficiary.

Classes of beneficiaries

You can use a ‘class’ of beneficiaries to describe a group of individuals who are not yet known or named individually in the trust deed, for example, future grandchildren. This can also include named potential beneficiaries. When a member of a class of beneficiaries benefits from the trust, and so becomes known, you must give their details. You’ll be asked to give a description of each class.

This is used to record beneficiaries who are part of an organisation, for example, employees of a company.

You’ll also need to give an approximate number of beneficiaries in the group.

Ownership or Controlling interest in a non-European Economic Area (EEA) company

This is where a trust has ownership of, or a controlling interest in a non-EEA company.

You’ll need the:

  • non-EEA company name
  • non-EEA company address
  • country whose laws govern the non-EEA company
  • date when the trust took controlling interest

Taxable trusts

You’ll need:

  • the type of trust
  • details about how it was set up
  • the trust’s UTR, if it has one

Deceased settlors

You’ll need their:

  • National Insurance number (if they’re a UK citizen)
  • address
  • passport details and address (if they’re not a UK citizen)

Other individuals and organisations

You must also give either their:

  • National Insurance number (if they’re a UK citizen)
  • address
  • passport details and address (if they’re not a UK citizen)

Shares

You’ll need the:

  • share company name
  • number of shares
  • class and type of share
  • approximate value of the shares when you register the trust

Partnership

You’ll need the partnership:

  • description
  • start date

Business

You’ll need the:

  • business name
  • business description
  • business address
  • approximate value of the business when you register the trust

Property and land

You’ll need the:

  • address, name or description of the property or land
  • estimated full value of the property or land at the time of registering the trust
  • estimated value of the portion of land or property held in trust if it does not own it all

Money

You’ll need the total amount of money in the trust.

Other assets (such as cars, jewellery or art)

You’ll need:

  • a description of the asset
  • the value of the asset when you register the trust

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