Guidance

Register your client’s trust

If you're a tax agent or adviser and your client has a trust with a tax liability, you can register it online.

When to register

If your client has a trust with a new tax liability, you must register by 5 October of the tax year after either:

  • the trust has been set up
  • it starts to make income or chargeable gains, if this is later

If you miss the deadline for registering, you may have to pay a penalty.

What you need

Trust

You’ll need:

  • the name of the trust
  • the trust address and telephone number
  • the date the trust was established
  • details of where the trust is resident

Beneficiaries

For individual beneficiaries, you need their:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number or passport details

To register:

  • unidentified beneficiaries, you’ll need the description of the beneficiaries from the trust deed
  • company beneficiaries, you’ll need the company beneficiary name and Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
  • charity beneficiaries, you’ll need the charity beneficiary name

Classes of beneficiaries

You can use classes of beneficiaries to identify beneficiaries, rather than naming each of them.

A class of beneficiaries can contain individuals, companies or organisations who have not yet received any financial or non-financial benefits from the trust.

The title of the class of beneficiary is usually contained in the trust deed, and that description should be used to register the trust.

Once a potential beneficiary receives a financial or non-financial benefit, you must name them.

You can use classes to identify all actual and potential beneficiaries if you’re registering more than 10 beneficiaries for either:

  • pension schemes
  • charitable trusts
  • employment benefits

Trustees, settlors and protectors

To register, you must give all of the following:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • trustee’s telephone number

If you cannot provide the correct National Insurance number you can give passport details and an address instead. Instructions in the online registration service explain how to do this.

You cannot use the online service to record details of more than 2 settlors. If you need to do this, you’ll have to send the additional information by post.

To register a corporate trustee, you’ll need their:

  • company name
  • company UTR number
  • contact email address

Assets

For share assets you need the:

  • share company name
  • number of shares
  • class and type of share
  • value of the shares when the trust received them

For property assets you need the:

  • name of the property or land
  • full value of the property or land
  • value of the asset allocated to the trust

For money assets you’ll need the total amount of money in the trust.

How to register

To register a trust, you need to have an agent services account. If you’ve already got one, you need the User ID and password you created when you set up the account.

If you do not have an account, you can create one the first time you register a trust. You’ll need:

You must be the person responsible for your agent firm’s tax or administrative matters. After you’ve set up an agent services account, you can add administrators and assistants to your Government Gateway account before registering a trust.

Register your trust online.
You can save your progress, but you cannot update your registration once you submit it.

Record details of more than 2 settlors

You can only record details of up to 2 settlors using the online service. If you need to record more, you should enter the details of the first 2 in the service and post the rest to HMRC.

If you need to record the details of a large number of settlors because you’re the trustee (or agent acting on behalf of trustees) of a pension scheme or an employment related trust, you should:

  • record the details of 2 of the settlors in the online service
  • use a class to describe the remaining settlors, for example, ‘pension scheme members’ or ‘employees of the company’, only to the extent that the class of settlors is different to the class of beneficiaries
  • tell us how many individuals fall within each class - if a corporate entity is a settlor, just provide the name of that corporation or firm

What happens next

We’ll send your client a UTR - you’ll need it to send a tax return using the Self Assessment for Agents online service.

Tell HMRC about changes

If your client’s information changes, you must tell HMRC by 31 January of the tax year after either:

  • the trust has been set up
  • it starts to make income or chargeable gains, if this is later

Write to HMRC to advise changes to the lead trustee name or trustee address.

Do not send changes other than lead trustee name or address. We’re consulting on changes to all others individuals in the trust. ‎

Penalties

The lead trustee may have to pay a penalty if they do not register the trust before the registration deadline.

If they do not register or update the information, and cannot show HMRC that they took reasonable steps to do so, the penalties are:

  • £100 for registering up to 3 months after the deadline
  • £200 for registering between 3 to 6 months after the deadline
  • £300 or 5% of the total tax liability in the relevant year (whichever is higher) for registering more than 6 months after the deadline

Penalties will not be issued automatically and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

We’ll also take into account that tax year 2017 to 2018 is the first year that trustees and agents have had to meet the new registration obligations.

Notification penalties

The facility to tell us about any changes to a registration is not yet available.

HMRC will not charge penalties for failure to tell us about changes until this facility becomes available.

When the facility is available, the same penalties will be applied that are currently applied to the late registration of a trust.

Money laundering penalties

HMRC can also charge penalties for money laundering offences, which are more serious than administrative offences.

HMRC will be consulting on the structure of these penalties later this year.

Published 17 November 2017
Last updated 30 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Information on how to tell HMRC about changes to lead trustee details has been added.
  2. The guidance has been updated to show that the lead trustees may have to pay a penalty, not their agents.
  3. The guidance has been updated to include information about penalties for not registering your client's trust, and for not telling HMRC about changes to your client's information.
  4. Added information about what to do if you need to record details of more than 2 settlors.
  5. The 'How to register' section has been updated to include more detail on creating an agent services account.
  6. Updated content to make clear what you need to register for an agent services account.
  7. The guidance has been updated to explain more about classes of beneficiaries and how to register a trust, and that you need an agent services account before being able to register.
  8. First published.