Non-resident trusts

This guide will help you understand the basic rules for trustees, settlors and beneficiaries of non-resident trusts.

What ‘non-resident trusts’ means

Non-resident trusts are usually ones where:

  • none of the trustees are resident in the UK for tax purposes
  • only some of the trustees are resident in the UK and the settlor of the trust wasn’t resident, ordinarily resident or domiciled in the UK when the trust was set up or funds added

Domicile usually refers to the country or legal jurisdiction (a state for example) where someone intends to make their permanent home - you can only have one place of domicile at any given time.

Residence is a complicated subject - more detailed guidance can be found in the RDR1 which covers the residence, domicile and remittance basis rules for the tax years 2012 to 2013 onwards.

The HMRC6 booklet should be used as a guide by residents or non-residents for information on rules affecting their tax liability in the UK up to the end of tax year 2012 to 2013 only.

Who to contact if you’re setting up a non-resident trust

If you’re setting up a trust that you think may be non-resident, you’ll need to contact HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and fill in form 41G(Trust).

You’ll be asked for the name of the trust, trustee information and details of the assets in the trust.

You can contact HMRC Trusts & Estates to discuss overseas tax or non-resident trusts issues.

Non-resident trusts and Income Tax

The tax rules for non-resident trusts are very complicated. Although there are general rules that apply to all non-resident trusts, each trust is different and is treated separately depending on:

Guidance for trustees

Trustees of non-resident trusts don’t pay UK tax on foreign income they receive. For most discretionary or accumulation trusts trustees pay tax at:

  • the standard rate on the first £1,000 of taxable income
  • 38.1 % on dividend income from stocks and shares
  • 45 % on UK interest (including ‘free of tax to residents abroad’ securities) if a beneficiary - or someone who might become one - is resident in the UK
  • 45 % on all other non-dividend income arising in the UK

For interest in possession trusts the trustees pay tax at:

  • the dividend ordinary rate (7.5 %) on trust dividend income
  • the basic rate (20 %) on all other types of income

Non-resident trustees should use form SA900 Trust and Estate Tax Return to declare any UK source income due from a non-resident trust. Where appropriate, they may also need to complete form SA906 - the Trust and Estate Non-Residence supplementary pages.

Go to Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax for non-resident trusts (PDF, 370KB, 21 pages) for further guidance.

Guidance for settlors

If you’re the settlor (the person who put assets into a trust) and you - or your spouse or civil partner - can benefit from the income or capital of a non-resident trust, then you’ll have to pay tax on the trust’s income as if it’s your own income.

The income of the trust is not treated as yours if you (or your spouse or civil partner) can’t benefit from it. However, if the beneficiaries include your children and the trust makes any payments to children of yours who are unmarried and below the age of 18, you will also have to pay Income Tax as if the payment to your child was your own income.

You can claim relief for tax on income paid to your unmarried children aged under 18 if the trustees are non-resident. This relief is given under Extra Statutory Concession, ESC A93 - go to page 12 of Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax for non-resident trusts (PDF, 370KB, 21 pages) for further guidance.

Guidance for beneficiaries

If you’re a UK resident beneficiary of a non-resident trust you may have to complete a Self Assessment tax return and the SA107 supplementary pages. The guidance notes for these pages give details as to how you should complete them.

If you’re a UK resident and get income from a non-resident discretionary trust, you can get some tax relief if the trustees have already paid tax on the income. This relief is given by Extra Statutory Concession, ESC B18 - go to page 11 of Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax for non-resident trusts (PDF, 370KB, 21 pages) for further guidance.

If you’re a non-resident beneficiary of a non-resident income in possession trust, you only need include income from a UK source on your tax return.

Go to Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax for non-resident trusts (PDF, 370KB, 21 pages) for further guidance.

Non-resident trusts and Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gains Tax is a tax on the gain in the value of assets such as shares, land or buildings. A trust may have to pay Capital Gains Tax if assets are sold, given away or exchanged (disposed of) and they’ve gone up in value since being put into trust.

Non-resident trustees don’t usually pay UK Capital Gains Tax. Instead, the settlor or the beneficiaries may have to pay tax on gains made by the non-resident trustees. But if you are a non-resident trustee and dispose of a UK residential property you may be liable to pay Capital Gains Tax. The tax rate for non-resident trustees is the same as for resident trustees and the annual exempt amount is also available.

You must report disposal of a UK residential property to HMRC within 30 days of the disposal using their online form.

Non resident trusts and Capital Gains Tax: HS299 Self Assessment helpsheet

Non-resident trusts and Inheritance Tax

Trusts, including non-resident trusts may have to pay Inheritance Tax on assets in the trust. Non-resident trusts will only have to pay it on assets situated outside the UK if the settlor was domiciled (or deemed domiciled) in the UK when the assets were put into the trust. Depending on the value of the assets in the trust, Inheritance Tax may be due when:

  • assets are put into the trust
  • the trust reaches a ten-year anniversary
  • assets are taken out of the trust or the trust ceases

It doesn’t matter if the trustees or beneficiaries are resident in the UK or not.

There is more guidance on trusts and Inheritance Tax.

Contact the Trusts helpline

You can contact the Trusts Helpline for more help. It’s best to get professional advice about non-resident trusts.

Published 17 June 2013
Last updated 6 April 2016 + show all updates
  1. Rates, allowances and duties have been updated for the tax year 2016 to 2017.
  2. Non-resident trustees may have to pay UK Capital Gains Tax on disposal of a UK residential property.
  3. First published.