Register a trust as a trustee (2023)

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 a trust if it becomes 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 (for example, a Schedule 3A trust)
  • non-UK express trusts, like 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

You must also register a non-UK resident trust if it becomes liable for tax on UK assets or on income coming from the UK.

If a relief already covers the liability, you’ll still need to register the trust if your client needs to claim the relief through Self Assessment.

Check if your trust is a Schedule 3A trust

You do not need to register your trust if it is a Schedule 3A trust, unless it has a liability to UK taxation. Schedule 3A trusts are also referred to as ‘excluded express trusts’.

Your trust is a Schedule 3A trust if it is any of the following:

  • a statutory trust by a court order or by law — for example, a trust created by a court when a couple cannot agree how to split assets during a divorce
  • used to hold money or assets of a UK registered pension scheme — like an occupational pension scheme
  • holding life insurance policies that only pay out on death, illness, or disability
  • a trust for a registered UK charity (or a charity not required to register with the Charity Commission under the Charities Act 2011)
  • set up to open a bank account for a child
  • set up on death that takes assets from the estate and is closed within 2 years of death (also called a ‘will trust’)
  • a trust with less than £100 and set up before 6 October 2020 (also called a ‘pilot trust’)
  • a co-ownership trust set up to hold shares of property or other assets jointly owned by 2 or more people as ‘tenants in common’
  • a trust relating to financial markets — including those created by default arrangements of a designated system or of the default rules of a recognised body
  • created to hold money for people other than the trustee — or those relating to professional services
  • holding client money, securities and other assets — this must be incidental to the carrying on of business by a relevant supervised person
  • a trust for capital markets and similar items
  • created to enable commercial transactions
  • a trust relating to registration of assets — for example, trusts created to hold the legal title of an asset for the person to whom the transfer or disposal is being made
  • a trust relating to legislative requirements — for example trusts set up to hold property, money from compensation for a personal injury or set up for a vulnerable beneficiary such as a disabled person
  • set up by government or other UK public authority

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.

You should check with a solicitor, accountant, financial adviser or other professional adviser if you’re not sure if a product or arrangement:

  • is a trust
  • should be registered

Find out more information about trusts that are only required to register because of a liability to UK tax.

When to register trusts that are not taxable

Non-taxable trusts that were created on or before 6 October 2020

The deadline for registrations was on or before 1 September 2022.

Non-taxable trusts created after 6 October 2020

Register within 90 days of it being created or becoming liable for tax, or on or before 1 September 2022 (whichever is later).

When to register trusts that are only registered because they’re 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

When to register 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 on or before 1 September 2022 (whichever is later).

When to register 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 on or before 5 October in the tax year after the one in which the trust both:

  • starts to receive any income or has capital gains
  • 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, you should have registered on or before 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 on or before 31 January in the tax year after the one in which the trust both:

  • receives any income or has capital gains
  • is liable for tax

Trusts that are liable for other taxes

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

(Video) How to register your Trust on the Trust Registration Service.

If you do not register on time

You may have to pay a £5,000 penalty if you deliberately:

  • fail to register the trust on time
  • do not keep the register up to date

What you’ll need

The following information is needed for both taxable and non-taxable trusts. However, you should read the section on taxable trusts to check what extra information you may need to provide.

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 if 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 Unique Taxpayer Reference if registering a taxable trust
  • a unique reference number 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 Unique Taxpayer Reference
  • address
  • telephone number
  • email address
  • country of residence

Deceased settlors

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

You’ll need to give their:

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

You will be asked to tell us if the settlor has mental capacity when registering a trust.

If a settlor has died after the trust was set up but before the trust has been registered, find out how to report this information on the Trust Registration Service.

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

Find out more information about what mental capacity means in relation to trusts.

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.

(Video) Registering a Trust - Lucy Hassett, Sydney Mitchell LLP 08081665696 - trust registration service TRS

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.

Employment related trust beneficiaries

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 company based outside the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

This is when a trust has ownership of, or a controlling interest in a company based outside the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

You’ll need the:

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

What extra information you’ll need for taxable trusts

You’ll need:

  • the type of trust
  • details about how it was set up
  • the trust’s Unique Taxpayer Reference, if it has one
  • to say if the trust is listed as a Schedule 3A trust — trusts in this position are only registered if they need to get a Unique Taxpayer Reference to declare a tax liability

Deceased settlors

If available, 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 their:

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

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

How to register

Before you can register a trust as a trustee, you need to have an Organisation Government Gateway user ID and password.

This is different to an Individual Government Gateway user ID and password. You cannot use an Individual Government Gateway user ID and password to register a trust.

(Video) FAQ Trust Registration Rules

You’ll need a different Organisation Government Gateway user ID for each trust you are responsible for, you can create one when you register. Select ‘Organisation’ on the screen that is displayed after you have created your password.

You’ll need:

  • an email address (this will be linked to the trust’s Organisation Government Gateway account)
  • your full name
  • a landline or mobile phone number

Register now

HMRC services may be slow during busy times. Check if there are any problems with this service.

Report that beneficial owners may be at a disproportionate risk of harm

From 1 September 2022, HMRC may share information held on the Trust Registration Service in limited circumstances with some third parties. Information will only be shared if either:

  • individuals can show that they’re looking into a specific instance of money laundering or terrorist financing in relation to a specific trust
  • a trust holds a controlling interest in offshore companies

This information includes their:

  • full name
  • month and year of birth
  • nationality
  • country of residence
  • beneficial interest in the trust

HMRC will not share information on specific individuals if doing so would lead to a disproportionate risk of:

  • fraud
  • kidnapping
  • blackmail
  • extortion
  • harassment
  • violence
  • intimidation

Tell HMRC in writing if you become aware that one or more of the trust’s beneficial owners may be exposed to a disproportionate risk of harm if their information is released.

Send an email, with ‘Beneficial owners at risk of harm’ in the subject line, to: trs.riskofharm@hmrc.gov.uk. Include the:

  • trust Unique Taxpayer Reference or unique reference number
  • trust name
  • lead trustee name
  • beneficial owners that are at risk of harm
  • specific risk of harm
  • full reason why the beneficial owner is at risk of the specified harm
  • full reason for believing that releasing their trust information would expose them to a disproportionate risk of harm
  • length of time for which you believe this risk will continue

This email is sent at the owner’s risk and HMRC will not be liable for any interception of that information. This mailbox will only accept information reporting a risk of harm.

Reporting a risk of harm is not a guarantee that the exemption will be applied. If HMRC get a trust data request in relation to that trust, we will review this information and decide if the risk of harm exemption applies. The exemption applies if releasing the beneficial owner’s trust information would expose them to a disproportionate risk of harm.

You should send further reports on an annual basis if you believe the risk of harm continues to apply.

After you’ve registered

If you are registering a trust that is liable to tax, HMRC will send the lead trustee a Unique Taxpayer Reference, usually within 15 working days. You’ll need the Unique Taxpayer Reference to start filing Self Assessment tax returns.

If the trust is not liable to pay tax, you can get your unique reference number by logging back into the service following submission of the registration.

Viewing or making changes to registration details

You can use the online service to view or make changes to your registered trust.

You can authorise an agent to view or make changes to the trust’s registration details.

Starting new business relationships

If your trust wants to start a new business relationship with an organisation that we define as a relevant person, you’ll need to give them an up-to-date copy of your proof of registration document.

You can download a PDF copy of the document in the online service, by selecting ‘Get evidence of the trust’s registration’.

(Video) Exploring the changes to the Trust Registration Service

You can find out more about what a relevant person is and what will happen if you do not provide them with a proof of registration document in the guidance to report a trust discrepancy to HMRC.

Sharing information about your trust

We may share details about your trust if someone submits a trust data request to us and it meets the requirements of the Money Laundering Regulations.

Find out how to ask HMRC for information about a trust to find out:

  • who we will share information with
  • what we will share
  • when we will share it

Published 19 May 2020
Last updated 17 October 2022 +show all updates

  1. Guidance on how to check if your trust is a schedule 3A trust has been added.

  2. The 'After you've registered' section has been updated with information on what you need to do if you start a new business relationship with an organisation and when HMRC will share information about your trust.

  3. We have updated the guidance on penalties due to late registration or failure to register.

  4. The 'How to register' section has been updated to make it clear you must use an Organisation Government Gateway user ID to register a trust.

  5. Information on how to report that beneficial owners may be at a disproportionate risk of harm has been added.

  6. Guidance has been added about the information you need to register a trust if the settlor is deceased.

  7. The section 'when to register' has been updated, as you may now receive a notification letter reminding you to register a trust if you do not register on time.

  8. The section on 'further considerations for trusts that are only required to register because of a liability to UK tax' has been removed and a link has been added to more detailed information.

  9. The 'Who should register' section has been updated.

  10. Information about the registration deadline for taxable and non-taxable trusts has been added.

  11. Added translation

  12. We've updated the page with further guidance for both taxable and non-taxable trusts.

  13. Sections about what you'll need to register a trust and employment trust beneficiaries have been updated.

    (Video) What does a trustee need? A Certification of Trust, for starters.

  14. Update to sections 'Beneficiaries' about the number of beneficiaries and 'Viewing or making changes to registration details' about authorising an agent.

  15. Information about how to authorise an agent to view or make changes to registration details for you has been updated.

  16. First published.

FAQs

Is there any downside to being a trustee? ›

Being a trustee is also a role that can be quite time consuming, more so than most people assume. Depending on the nature of the estate, being a trustee can require quite a few hours, which can be hard to come by if the trustee also has a full-time job, a family, and/or other obligations.

What is the trust registration service? ›

What is the Trust Registration Service? The TRS is an online system by which trustees (administrators of the trust) can register in respect of the beneficial ownership of trusts. It was introduced to satisfy the requirements of The Fourth and The Fifth Money Laundering Directives (4MLD and 5MLD).

Does a trust need to be recorded in California? ›

Probate is Public and Living Trusts are Private

Living Trusts are NOT required to be public records in California and are in fact designed to be private documents meant for the eyes of family members and beneficiaries only.

How do you act as a trustee? ›

A primary trustee duty is to keep beneficiaries reasonably informed about the trust, including what the assets are, fees and expenses paid (including trustee compensation), and the amount of distributions. To limit their liability, the trustee must provide such information to beneficiaries.

Do you get paid for being a trustee? ›

Trustees can be paid for providing services (and, in some cases, goods) to the charities for which they are a Trustee. The power to do this and the conditions which the charity must follow in deciding when payment is appropriate, are set out in the Charities Act 2011.

Who is the best person to be a trustee? ›

A good Trustee should be someone who is honest and trustworthy, because they will have a lot of power under your trust document. The person you choose to act as a Trustee should also be financially responsible, because they will be handling the investments for the benefit of your beneficiaries.

Can I register a trust myself? ›

Whilst Trustee Support Services is happy to work with trustees and their advisers, and to register trusts on their behalf, trustees can also register their trust on the TRS themselves for no cost.

What is needed to register a trust? ›

1 Copy of the Letter of Authority (Issued by the Master of the high Court). 2 Copy of a Final Last Will and Testament. 3.3 SA Temporary Identity Document. 4 Trust resolution stipulating / confirming the appointment of the “Representative Taxpayer (e.g. Main trustee)” of the Trust.

Who is responsible for registering a trust? ›

Whose responsibility is it to register the trust and keep the TRS register updated? It is the lead trustee's responsibility or their agent if they have appointed one.

What do you get out of being a trustee? ›

As a trustee you'll be dedicating your skills, knowledge, time and energy into making sure the charity and the way it's governed are suitable and fit for purpose. You'll also be able to develop your skills, build your CV and learn from others.

Does being a trustee affect taxes? ›

A: A trust computes its income tax liability in much the same way that an individual does and is allowed most of the credits and deductions that an individual is allowed. Similarly, deductions not allowed to individuals are not allowed to trusts.

Is being a trustee stressful? ›

Become de-stressed. You have been chosen by a family member or friend to act for them or on behalf of their family in times of need. While you want to help, it is a big responsibility that can be very time-consuming and emotionally draining.

Will being a trustee affect my benefits? ›

For this reason the trust cannot impact on means tested benefits and entitlements. The Trust Company holds the assets in trust, to maintain and manage throughout the beneficiary's life. Is money gifted to a Mencap Trust exempt from inheritance Tax? No.

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