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Most trusts in the UK need to be registered.
Trust registration refers to the process of officially recording and documenting the existence and details of a trust with HM Revenue & Customs using its Trust Registration Service. The vast majority of trusts in England and Wales are required to be registered by law. The Trust Registration Service is managed by HM Revenue & Customs. It is the Government’s way of keeping a record of the beneficial ownership of trusts.
The Trust Registration Service was set up in 2017 as part of an EU anti-money laundering directive, aimed at tackling money laundering, terrorist financing and serious crime. Rules implemented in 2020 extended the scope of the trusts needing to be registered, so that most trusts in the UK now need to be registered. Trusts such as Personal Injury trusts do not need to be registered but these are one of only a few exemptions.
Trusts created after September 2022 must be registered within 90 days. Subsequent changes to trusts must then be registered within 90 days of the change. Trusts created before September 2022 should already have been registered. Any unregistered trusts of that period need to be registered as soon as possible as there may be ongoing penalties.
The responsibility of registering a trust falls on the trustees. A lead trustee is typically appointed to deal with the Trust Registration Service. There is a responsibility on the lead trustee to ensure HMRC’s records are kept up to date. Penalties and fines may be imposed for non-compliance.
Amongst other things, the trustees must enter details about the trustees (including who is to act as the lead trustee), the settlor and the beneficiaries.
HMRC wants as complete an understanding of what is going on with the trust as possible. Where a beneficiary is named in a trust instrument (as opposed to featuring within a class of beneficiary), they must be included. If a beneficiary is part of a stated class, then they only need to be named if they have received a distribution from the trust.
Our specialist team is experienced in trust registration. If you would like to speak to a member of the team, please contact 03333 058375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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