We reported in March this year that existing businesses providing trustee services had to register with HMRC to combat money laundering. Updated guidance confirms trustees who provide services "by way of a business" must register with HMRC by 30 September 2008. However, sole practitioners and firms providing only professional trustee services to "low risk trusts" are exempt from registration. Occupational pension schemes and employee share schemes are classed as "low risk trusts".

The clarification is welcome news for professional trustee service providers. Although the guidance does not refer specifically to lay trustees, they are unlikely to be caught when professional trustees are exempt.

Any trustees who have already applied for registration but are exempt as a result of the updated guidance will have their application fees refunded.