HMRC: Further delays to the upgrading of the Trust Registration Service

The deadline for registering Trusts online is set to be delayed again, as HMRC have announced more delays to the upgrade of the Trust Registration Service (TRS).

As regular readers of the WAY Investment Services newsletters, you will know that there have been plenty of changes to the rules for registering Trusts online with the TRS. To recap, in January 2020 the EU Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Regulations came into force, with the stated aim of tackling terrorist financing and money laundering. As part of this, the list of trusts that need to register online with the Government was greatly expanded, including a large number of non-tax-paying trusts.

However, more than a year on, the online service is still not fully ready. Trusts can register but material changes such as a change of Trustee or routine administration such as a change of correspondence address cannot be made online, even though they are meant to be made within 30 days. Instead, straightforward administrative changes need to be submitted to HMRC on paper, via post, which will inevitably be slower and more time-consuming.

HMRC had previously said that existing unregistered trusts would need to be registered on the TRS by 10th March 2022. The upgraded IT system is now not expected to open until an unspecified date in summer 2021. To compensate, HMRC have announced that they intend to defer the deadline for the registration of existing trusts to 12 months after the upgraded TRS is implemented.

Managing a Trust is a significant responsibility and requires diligence, expertise, time and care. It is worth noting that it is the responsibility of the Trustees to register the trust. An appointed ‘agent’ can only register the Trust on behalf of the Trustees if they are a “business that operates as an accountancy service provider”. This may exclude many IFAs from being able to register the Trust with the TRS. Trustees will need to continue to keep abreast of developments in the TRS and the accompanying rules, or risk fines. We would also encourage all Trustees to keep detailed records. As a reminder, WAY Tax & Trustee Advisory Services offers a full Professional Trustee Service, with the expert team able to fulfil all administrative, tax, reporting and legal requirements involved in running a Trust.