The long-awaited Trusts’ Registration Service (TRS) is now live. This replaces the paper system, which has been in suspension for some time.

The old system was one whereby trustees were obliged to fill and post in a registration form (Form 41G). They would then have to notify HMRC by post of any significant changes to the trust. Now all registration can be dome online.

Practitioners should welcome the replacement of the old system, which was slow, inefficient and infamous for losing documentation. Sadly however, the launch of the online system has been bedevilled by technical hitches, frustrating many registrations. Ho Hum!

Despite the technical problems, the deadline to register trusts remains the 5th December 2017. Penalties will be incurred if a trust is not registered by then. Hence it is best not to leave things to the last moment.

Not all trusts need registration. Essentially, the exceptions are those trusts which are not liable to pay tax, principally bear trusts and those with no income or capital gain or IHT liability. Advice should be taken long before 5th December 2017 to ensure registration where appropriate.

Going forward, the trust registration deadlines will be 5th October and 31st January. Some trusts will not need registration going forward. Those with de minimius tax liabilities will be able to apply for exemption from the obligation to submit tax returns. Again, advice should be sought for both registered and unregistered trusts where the trust as incurred a tax liability.