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13 September 2022

New rules relating to registering trusts have now come into force.

From the beginning of this month (September 2022), existing and new UK (and some non-UK) express trusts must be recorded with the Trust Registration Service (TRS), unless they qualify as ‘excluded.’

Registration must be completed within 90 days of a trust’s creation, whilst details of existing trusts should have been uploaded to the HMRC’s online platform by September 1.

What is an express trust?

Express trusts are generally defined as those created by a settlor – the person who puts assets into a trust – as opposed to those set up another way, such as through a court order or statute. This definition includes:

  • Discretionary trusts
  • Interest in possession trusts
  • Many types of bare trust
  • Charitable trusts
  • Employee ownership trusts

Which trusts qualify as excluded?

A number of express trusts are exempt from the registration requirements. Namely:

  • Registered pension schemes
  • Trusts holding life or health insurance policies that only pay out on the death, terminal illness or permanent disability of the insured
  • Trusts holding life policy benefits, provided they are paid out within two years of death
  • Pilot (bypass) trusts set up before 6 October 2020 and holding less than £100
  • Will trusts that exist for less than two years
  • Bereaved minor trusts and intestacy trusts
  • Personal injury trusts

Why do we need to register trusts?

It became a legal requirement to record trusts with HMRC in 2017, following the EU’s fourth money laundering directive. Even though the regulations were introduced by Europe, they remained in law following Brexit.

In 2018, the register was expanded to include trusts that don’t incur any UK tax liabilities. This brought many dormant trusts into its scope and put more non-professional trustees under pressure to comply with the regulations. Failure to register, where this is seen to be deliberate on the part of trustees, can result in a penalty of £5,000 per offence.

Following the recent change to the TRS rules, it is worth considering your anti-money laundering practices and reviewing them as part of a due diligence check.

Acting as a TRS agent

Trustees are ultimately responsible for ensuring their trusts is registered with the TRS, however, it is not a particularly user-friendly platform and many find the process daunting and time consuming. Alternatively, they can appoint an agent to do it on their behalf.

If you wish to act as an agent for a client who needs to register a trust, you can complete the process on the government’s website here. You will need information on the trust, settlor, lead trustee, other trustees, beneficiaries, persons with control and trust assets (for taxable trusts).

Using the TRS is now also the only way to obtain a unique taxpayer reference (UTR) to submit an SA900 Trusts and Estates tax return.

If you want to provide trustees with further guidance on registering a trusts, direct them to: Additional support is available here but there is a fee charged for this service.

For more information about logging a trust with the TRS and the legislative obligations faced by trustees, don’t hesitate to contact us on (0161) 521 8641 or email:

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