HMRC has advised that the revamped on-line trust registration service (TRS) is now fully operational, so that non-taxable trusts can start to register.

Following the implementation of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive into UK law, the number of trusts that need to register with the TRS has been expanded from trusts that pay relevant UK taxes to include ‘non-taxable trusts’. Non-taxable trusts comprise UK express trusts (except certain types of specifically excluded trusts) and non-UK trusts which, on or after 6 October 2020, acquire an interest in UK land or, if one or more of the trustees is UK resident, form a business relationship in the UK.

The original deadline for registration of the new category of trusts was this March but the deadline was pushed back and is now 1 September 2022.

Trusts which are excluded include trusts holding certain life or pension policies, certain trusts arising on death, trusts arising from a court order and certain co-ownership trusts. Bare trusts are not excluded and so some trusts for minors and trusts of property have to register where the registered and beneficial owners are not the same.

Trustees of non-taxable trusts in existence on or after 6 October 2020 which meet the registration criteria are required to do so by 1 September 2022 at the latest and should start to consider what they need to do.

From 1 September 2022 there will also be limited public access to the Trust Register. Access will only be granted on request and in most cases will be limited to persons with a legitimate interest e.g. those involved in preventative work in the field of anti-money laundering or counter-terrorist financing. In addition, individuals and organisations may apply for information on the register about non-taxable UK and offshore trusts which hold a controlling interest in a non-EEA (‘third country’) company or other legal entity, although limited to non-UK trusts that have at least one UK resident trustee. Such requests are not restricted to those with a “legitimate interest” but are subject to certain safeguarding measures.

Going forwards a 90-day registration deadline will apply to relevant non-taxable trusts after 1 September 2022 (or which meet the criteria within 90 days before that date). Also, from 1 September 2022, any changes to the trust details or circumstances must be reported to HMRC within 90 days of the change. The 90 day deadline for updates and for registration of new trusts is a welcome improvement on the original proposal for 30 days.