Changes to the Trust Register rules

24 / 11 / 2021

We highlighted in the Winter 2020/21 issue of In Trust that the law was changing in respect of the registration of trusts with HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC“), meaning that vast majority of UK trusts will need to be on the Trust Register going forwards, whether they generate UK tax or not. We now have a timeline for these changes: 1 September 2022 for the registration of all trusts not already on HMRC’s Trust Register (unless excluded). However under the pre-existing rules, if an unregistered trust generated UK tax in tax year 2020/21, an earlier deadline will apply.

The Trust Register has been in existence since 2017 and is a database of information maintained by HMRC on trusts and their “beneficial owners”. The Trust Register is not publicly searchable but is available to HMRC, competent authorities, those entering into a business relationship with a registered trust and those that can demonstrate a “legitimate interest” in a trust’s beneficial ownership information.

If you are a trustee of a trust which is not yet on the Trust Register and would like advice on the application of the new Trust Register rules, please contact us. The rules have a wide application and potentially capture “informal” trusts such as arrangements to look after assets for a minor child (often known as a “bare” trust) and certain trusts behind the legal title to land or property (again often used when children are the true beneficial owners).