Trust Registration Service – Registering a Trust or Estate with HMRC
Do you need to register a trust or estate with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)? Read our legal expert's step-by-step guide and answers to FAQs below.
What needs to be registered on the trust registration service (TRS)?
All UK express trusts must be registered on the TRS. Express trusts are those created by someone during their lifetime, or those included in someone’s Will which are created on their death. Certain non-UK express trusts are also required to be registered on the TRS. These are mostly those where all the trustees are not UK residents. Relevant Trusts and any Trusts that are liable to UK taxation are also subject to the registration rules. These include the following:
- Trusts that are liable to UK taxation, such as income or capital gains tax
- UK express trusts
- Non-UK express trusts that are liable to UK taxation
- Non-UK express trusts that are not excluded under the further TRS guidance
Also required to be registered is the Estate of someone who has died, if the administration of the estate continues for more than two years from the date of death. This is only to be registered if the will contains language that creates a trust. This language usually takes the form of ‘I give to my executors and trustees … to hold on trust for …’.
Further guidance on which trusts must be registered can be found in the HMRC Trust Registration Service Manual 20000 on Gov.uk. A trust will need to be registered within 90 days of its creation or of it becoming liable to UK taxation. For an estate that needs to be registered, this is likely to be required within 90 days of the two-year anniversary of the death.
There may be a £5,000 penalty for the trustees if they deliberately fail to register the trust or estate within these time limits, or if they fail to keep the register updated after registration.
Step-by-step guide to registering a trust with HMRC
Step 1: Creating a Government Gateway account
Open HMRC TRS Government login and scroll down to the green ‘Register Now’ button.
Click on the link ‘Create Sign In Details’ and provide your email address. Once you have entered this, a security code (‘access code’) will be emailed to you. This code will be unusable after 30 minutes, so you will need to locate and submit it in this timeframe.
When you have provided the access code, you will be asked to give your full name and create a password. The website will then generate a Government Gateway ID which will be 12 numbers e.g. 11 22 33 44 55 66. Please keep your Government Gateway ID and chosen password safe, as this will be the login details you use to claim the Trust and maintain it in the future.
Click 'Continue' after your Government Gateway ID has been generated. You will be asked what type of account you need. Please choose an ‘Organisation’ account. This is because you are acting on behalf of a trust or an estate. You will then be asked to set up additional security and to provide another security code. You may choose whichever method is easiest to have the code communicated to you. This is usually by text or phone call, meaning you will need to provide your telephone number.
After you have submitted the security code when prompted, you will be asked whether the Trust has been registered – please select ‘no’. You will then be asked whether you have a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), again please select ‘no’.
Step 2: Selecting what type of trust or estate you are registering
You will be asked whether the trust had any tax liability across the current tax year and if the trust had any UK tax liability in the last four tax years. If the trust or estate was liable to UK taxation in the current tax year, or the preceding four tax years, please select ‘yes’ and provide as much information as possible. This identifies whether it is classed as a taxable trust, which would present other responsibilities, such as tax returns.
Step 3: Providing details of the trust or estate
When you click ‘continue to register the trust’, you will be presented with several ‘sections’.
You will need to provide the name of the trust or estate, for example ‘The Smith Family Settlement’ or ‘The Estate of the Late Mr Smith'. You will be asked to provide the date the trust was created or, in the case of an estate where a trust was created under a Will, the date the deceased died, as this is when the Trust was legally created.
You will be asked the following questions:
- Has the Trust acquired land or property in the UK since 6th October 2020?
- Is the trust registered on the trust register of any countries within the European Economic Area (EEA)?
- Are the trustees based in the UK?
You need to answer all questions as accurately as possible, and seek advice if you are unsure at any time. This can be from a professional, or by contacting the TRS via their dedicated call centre at 0300 123 1072.
These are the people who created the trust, or the deceased, if you are registering an estate. You will need to provide their personal details such as their full name, nationality, country of residence, and date of birth (and date of death if this relates to an estate).
You will need to provide the name, date of birth, nationality and country of residence for each trustee. You will be given an option to label one trustee as a ‘lead trustee’ who will act as the main contact for HMRC in relation to the trust or estate. You will need to provide the National Insurance Number (or passport details), residential address, email address and phone number for the lead trustee. For each trustee, you will need to indicate whether they have mental capacity.
In this section, you will be asked to provide the names, dates of birth, nationalities, and countries of residence for the beneficiaries of the trust or estate. If this includes a class of people, such as ‘the grandchildren of Mr Smith’, or charities, then these options can also be provided. Again, you will be asked to indicate whether they have mental capacity.
Company Ownership or Controlling Interest
You will be asked whether the trust or estate owns, or has a controlling interest in, a non-EEA company. If the answer is ‘yes’, you will be asked to provide further information about this.
You will also need to provide the names of any individual or business named in the trust deed or will that can affect the way the trust or estate is managed.
Lastly, you will need to name any other individuals associated with the trust or estate, and who can affect how it is managed, for example, a parent of a minor beneficiary.
When you have completed all the above sections, you will be able to ‘print or save a copy of your saved answers’ where you can review the information you have provided. Once you are happy with your answers, you can click ‘Continue to Declaration’. When you submit your name under this declaration, you are confirming that your answers are accurate, and this will trigger the registration of the trust or estate.
You will be able to print or save a copy of your final submission of information provided to the TRS. It is recommended that you keep a copy of this for your records or for the solicitor dealing with the trust or estate on a regular basis.
I have registered my trust or estate with HMRC - what do I do next?
A letter will be posted to the lead trustee from HMRC confirming the registration has been successful. This letter will provide the trust or estate’s Unique Reference Number (URN) or Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). A URN is usually in the following format: XYTRUST12345678, and a UTR is made up of 10 numbers, such as 1234567890.
This letter is vital in identifying the trust or estate at any time, especially in correspondence with HMRC, so please keep this in a safe place along with your Government Gateway login details. You will need this information to manage the trust or estate.
You should be mindful that registration is the first step. The lead trustee will need to claim the trust, manage, and update its details using their Government Gateway account.
If you have any questions or concerns related to the TRS or your obligations as a trustee, our legal experts here at Wolferstans Solicitors are here to help. Please get in touch by calling 01752 29201 and ask to speak with a member of our Wills & Probate team, or email us at email@example.com.
There is also guidance available from HMRC on Gov.uk.