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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Ownership and income tax: Specific types of property: shares - legal and beneficial ownership

Legal ownership of shares is vested in the registered holder, who will usually also be the beneficial owner (TSEM9140). However as with other property this is not necessarily the case. Shares may be held by the registered holder as a bare trustee or nominee (TSEM9150) for the true beneficial owner and trusts may arise under a declaration of trust (TSEM9520) or trust deed (TSEM9530).

Transfer of the legal title to shares usually requires delivery of a duly executed form of transfer to the transferee coupled with the share certificates followed by registration of the transferee as registered owner of the shares. However, many shares in public listed companies are now held and transferred in electronic form under the CREST system.