Trustees - tax responsibilities

As the trustee, you’re responsible for reporting and paying tax on behalf of the trust.

If there are 2 or more trustees, nominate one as the ‘principal acting trustee’ to manage its tax. The other trustees are still accountable, and can be charged tax and interest if the trust does not pay.

Registering a trust

Once a trust becomes liable for tax, you must register the trust with HM Revenue and Customs.

Sending tax returns

You must report the trust’s income and gains in a trust and estate Self Assessment tax return after the end of each tax year. You can either:

You can also get help, for example from HMRC or by getting an accountant to do your return for you.

After you’ve sent your return, HMRC will tell you how much you owe. You’ll need to pay your Self Assessment bill by the deadline.

You’ll need to collect and keep records (for example bank statements) to complete your tax return.

Telling beneficiaries about tax and income

You must give the beneficiary a statement with the amount of income and tax paid by the trust, if they ask. You can use form R185 (trust) to do this. There’s a different form if you need to provide a statement to a settlor who retains an interest.

If there’s more than one beneficiary, you must give each of them this information relative to the amount they receive.

Death benefit payments from a pension scheme

You must give the beneficiary extra information if both the following apply:

  • you make a payment funded by a taxable lump sum from a pension scheme
  • the pension holder has died

Use form R185 (LSDB) if you’re a trustee. There’s a different form if you’re a pension administrator.

You must tell the beneficiary within 30 days.

Other responsibilities

You may have to report other things to HMRC. You need to:

Your other responsibilities as a trustee depend on the type of trust and any instructions from the person who set up the trust in the trust deed.