Trust Registration Service

If you are a trustee of a trust, you may need to register your trust with HMRC’s Trust Registration Service.

What is the Trust Registration Service?

The Trust Registration Service (TRS) is an online HMRC system which allows the gathering of information on trusts in existence in the UK.

It has come about as a result of legislation designed to combat money laundering and records the ownership of assets held in trust.

For example, if one person (the trustee) legally ‘owns’ an asset, TRS will record that there is a different person who is actually entitled to benefit from that asset (the beneficiary).

When it was introduced, TRS was only for trusts which were subject to tax; however, it has now been extended to encompass almost all trusts.  This includes very simple arrangements, even where there is no tax liability.

Does my trust need to Register under TRS?

Most UK trusts will need to register under TRS. Trusts which are exempt from registration are:

  • Pension schemes;
  • Charitable trusts;
  • Existing trusts with a value of less than £100 created before to 6 October 2020 (pilot trusts);
  • Trusts set up to hold jointly-owned property, where the legal and beneficial owners are the same; and
  • Disabled persons trusts and certain other trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries, such as those set up for children with a deceased parent

Who should register the Trust?

Registration is the responsibility of the trustees. The trustees should decide between them which trustee will be the ‘lead trustee’ who will register the trust under the TRS and be the main point of contact for HMRC.

The trustees can appoint an advisor, such as an accountant or solicitor, to register the trust for them.

What information must be included in the registration?

All trusts that are required to register must provide information about the following:

  • the trustees
  • the settlor
  • the beneficiaries

If the trust is taxable, you will also need to provide extra details about the beneficiaries of the trust and information about the assets held by the trust.

What are the Trustees’ ongoing responsibilities?

After the initial registration is complete, if there are any changes to the details on the register, the lead trustee must update the details online.

For taxable trusts, the trustees will also need to tick a box when preparing the trust’s self-assessment tax return to confirm that the details on the trust register are up to date.

What are the penalties for failing to register?

HMRC have recognised that the need to register is new and unfamiliar for most trustees and has suggested that a penalty will not be charged for in an initial failure to register. HMRC will instead issue a warning letter to trustees if they become aware of a trust which is required to register and has not done so.

Continued failure to register could see the trustees issued with a penalty of up to £5,000.

Where can I get more information?

HMRC’s Trust Registration Service Manual provides more information on TRS.

How to Guide – Claim a Trust & Provide Authorisation.

Who should I contact?

Our Private Client Team is able to assist with TRS requirements.  If you would like Warners to act for you, please email [email protected]

and we should be happy to help.

This is for general information only and does not constitute advice as to your responsibilities as a trustee. 

Meet the team

Penelope Sillitoe
Gail Hall
Mary Shaw
Fiona Taylor
Richard Theobald