New rules were introduced on 6 October 2020, as part of the UK’s implementation of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD), which extend the scope of the trust register to all UK and some non-UK trusts that are currently open, whether or not the trust has to pay any tax, but with some specific exclusions. However, trustees cannot register trusts under the new rules until later in 2021 when the new Trust Registration Service is ready.
Trustees or their agents must register a trust using the Trust Registration Service (TRS) if the trust is liable to pay 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 deadline for registrations will give trustees approximately 12 months to register from when the new service is ready to accept registrations.
Under the new rules, organisations and persons involved in preventative work in the field of anti-money laundering, counter terrorist financing and associated offences, can request access to details on the register about the people associated with a trust. The information will only be released on request in certain limited circumstances.
Trusts that need to be registered
These are broadly:
- all UK express trusts, unless they are specifically excluded (see ‘Trusts that do not have to be registered’)
- non-UK express trusts:
- 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
If the trust needs a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) for Self Assessment purposes, it must still register to get this, even if it’s highlighted in the exclusion list.
Trusts that do not need to be registered
Certain trusts do not need to register unless they are liable to pay UK tax. These include:
- trusts used to hold money or assets of a UK-registered pension scheme, such as an occupational pension scheme
- trusts used to hold life or retirement policies providing that the policy only pays out on death, terminal or critical illness or permanent disablement, or to meet the healthcare costs of the person assured
- trusts holding insurance policy benefits received after the death of the person assured, providing the benefits are paid out from the trust within 2 years of the death
- charitable trusts which are registered as a charity in the UK or which are not required to register as a charity
- ‘pilot’ trusts which were set up before 6 October 2020 and which hold no more than £100 – pilot trusts set up after 6 October 2020 will need to register
- co-ownership trusts set up to hold shares of property or other assets which are jointly owned by 2 or more people for themselves as ‘tenants in common’
- will trusts which are created by a person’s will and come into effect on their death providing they only hold the estate assets for up to 2 years after the person’s death
- trusts for bereaved children under 18 or adults aged 18 to 25 set up under the will (or intestacy) of a deceased parent or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme
- ‘financial’ or ‘commercial’ trusts created in the course of professional services or business transactions for holding client money or other assets
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. These are set out in the legislation and will be described in the detailed guidance.
Trusts which are not set up deliberately by a settlor but are imposed by Courts or created by legislation, are not ‘express trusts’ and therefore do not have to register unless they are liable to tax.
Examples of such trusts include a trust:
- set up under the intestacy laws when a person dies without a valid will and the assets in the estate are held by a trust before passing to relatives
- set up under a Court Order to hold compensation payments
- to hold jointly owned assets, such as a home jointly owned with a spouse, partner or relation as ‘joint tenants’, or a joint bank account
- Some financial products and arrangements with ‘Trust’ in their description, such as the Child Trust Fund or Venture Capital Trusts, are not really trusts and so do not have to be registered. You should check with a solicitor, accountant, financial advisor or other professional advisor if you are unsure whether a product or arrangement is a trust or if it should be registered.
What you’ll need to register
The trustees or agents will have to give some basic information about the persons involved in the trust (the settlors and beneficiaries). This will apply to both taxable and non-taxable trusts.
Requesting information on the register
Law enforcement agencies can already get information on the register about a trust and its beneficial owners to help counter money laundering and terrorist financing. The new rules will allow HMRC to give information to an outside party in specific limited circumstances. In addition, trustees will use the register to share their own information with an obliged entity.
There are 2 types of requests for information from the register:
- Legitimate interest requests – individuals and organisations who have an interest in a specified trust because they are, for example, conducting an investigation into suspected money laundering or terrorist financing activity involving that trust may apply for information from the register. Applicants will have to give details which substantiate why they suspect that the trust may have been used for money laundering or terrorist financing and explain how they will use the trust data.
- Third country entity requests – individuals and organisations may apply for information on the register about a trust which holds a controlling interest in a non-EEA (‘third country’) company or other legal entity. A ‘controlling interest’ is usually where the trust holds more than 50% of the shares in the entity or can control it in some other way.
The information provided about each beneficial owner will be their name, month and year of birth, country of residence, nationality, and their role in the trust. For companies and other legal entities, the information will be limited to their name, office address and nature of their role in the trust.
HMRC will not give information about beneficial owners if:
- they are under 18
- lack mental capacity
- they are at risk of, for example, blackmail, extortion, violence or intimidation as a result of releasing that information
When trusts enter into business relationships with certain UK organisations (such as, solicitors or financial services firms), new rules require these organisations to confirm that the trust is registered on TRS before the relationship can start. Trustees will be able to download an extract from the register to confirm that the trust has been registered on TRS.
This content has been directly taken from the Government website where more information can be found.