Trust Registration Service (TRS) extension – Update

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We wrote previously about HMRC significantly extending the criteria for the trust registration under online TRS registration service and within the provisions of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD) – see our previous blog post here.

It has been confirmed that all trusts in existence on 10 March 2020 or created by 9 February 2022, which are in scope for the registration, should be registered by 10 March 2022. The trusts already in existence by the same date: 10 March 2022 will need to add further details about residency and nationality of their beneficial owners.

Following the technical consultation published on 24 January 2020 and responses gathered from the professional bodies on the trust registration criteria and services in general, there has been no official guidance released by HMRC, however, a number of exclusions have already been confirmed, these being:

Statutory trusts e.g. on intestacy;

  • Where two or more people co-own an asset legally and beneficially for themselves and at the same time;
  • Trusts used solely to hold insurance policies;
  • Vulnerable beneficiary and personal injury trusts;
  • Charitable trusts;
  • Trusts holding registered pension schemes; and
  • Trusts already registered in an EU member state.

The HMRC consultation document can be found here.

All trusts within the registration criteria from 9 February 2022 will also have 30 days to register under TRS, from the date of ‘set up’. The ‘set up’ definition still requires clarification by HMRC. The ATT and CIOT are proposing that the ‘set up’ should be taken at the point at which assets are transferred into the hands of trustees.

Additional changes to any details (i.e. updating lead trustees details etc.) will be required to be updated within 30 days.

The 30 day deadline, both for registration and updating details, has been highlighted to HMRC as being impractical.

There is still the unresolved issue of some trustees being without access to internet, not being capable to digitally engage or not having the capability (IT skills) to either handle the registration themselves online or appoint an agent. The current system requires for the information to be provided online and, if the trustees wish for their agent to be able to update trust details, they will be required to provide a ‘digital handshake’, which is an authorisation that can only be requested by logging in to a Government Getaway account.

HMRC confirmed that they have released the following features under the new TRS ‘micro-service’:

  • Clients can authorise an agent (a ‘digital handshake’);
  • Agents and Lead trustees will be able to view data held about the trust by HMRC;
  • Agents and Lead trustees will be able to notify HMRC that no changes have been made (i.e. declare no change to the trust details);
  • Change details of the lead trustee online;
  • Replace lead trustee details with an existing trustee.

However, a list of registered trusts and estates is still not available to view for agents. This has been highlighted by both the ATT and CIOT in their responses to the consultation.

HMRC confirms that they are continuing to develop further features in the new version of the service and will keep us updated.

HMRC also confirmed that additional features allowing the details of registered estates to be updated will be available later in the year.

We will provide an update when further guidance is released.