In 2017, HMRC introduced the Trust Registration Scheme (TRS). With a few notable exceptions, this broadly meant that any new trust, or any existing settlement that had a tax liability, had to register on the TRS giving details of the initial assets, the settlor, trustees and beneficiaries.
Important changes have been made to the TRS that affect all of the impacted trusts.
Any trust with any tax liability (not just income tax or capital gains tax) at any stage in the past three years should (if not registered online already) be registered. Additionally, any trusts or settlements (including those already on the Register) must record annually on the Register whether or not there have been any changes in the trust or those responsible for it (e.g.: addresses of trustees).
In relation to Trusts already registered, a trustee must create a digital Government Gateway Account for the specific trust. Note that this part cannot be done by Ensors as Agent. Once the Gateway Account has been created, the Trustees electronically “claim” the trust of which they are trustee that has already been created on the TRS. In order to do this the Trustee will be asked a series of questions from data that HMRC already hold (eg: the settlor’s NI number). The Trustee’s answer has to be precisely in the format that is held by HMRC. It is therefore very important that the Trustee has to hand the original detail Trust Registration Record to ensure the responses are exact. For example, any spelling mistakes on the original entries must be repeated in the answers given now. Any ‘wrong’ answers in the nine questions will result in a ‘failure’. Three successive failures will mean being barred from the system for 30 minutes.
To create a Government Gateway Account, the trustee must go to one of these two links and use the Create Sign In details section.
These links are important as you cannot currently access this area of the TRS from other parts of HMRC (as at the time of writing).
Note that though the Trustee must create their own personal Trust Government Gateway Account, there is then the facility to pass over the process to Ensors they so wish. If the intention is to Authorise Ensors to do this (and maintain the Register thereafter) please let your Ensors contact know before commencing the above process.
The deadline for this is 31 January 2021 for any changes prior to 6 April 2020 or where the trust was liable to tax in 2017/18, 2018/19 or 2019/20. Importantly, if a trust closes, you are still required to update the register.
To discuss this or your tax affairs generally, please do not hesitate to contact Robin Beadle