The rules around UK trusts are changing but we ensure you remain compliant.

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The rules around UK trusts are changing and many now need to be registered with HMRC to avoid penalties.

In 2017, the government introduced the Trust Register to provide greater transparency around the ownership of assets and the individuals connected with trusts. Essentially, trusts that incurred a tax liability in the UK needed to be registered. Now new rules have come into force that mean more types of trusts now need to be registered.

To help get you started, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about trusts below.

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Trusts FAQ

Trustees need to provide details of the trustees (dates of birth and addresses), beneficiaries (class of beneficiary, names, dates of birth and addresses), settlors (names, dates of birth, countries of residence and dates of death if appropriate) and assets held (valuations).

Going forward, trustees are also required to keep the information up-to-date or confirm annually there have been no changes.

Existing trusts which are not exempt must be registered by 1 September 2022. Trusts created after this date must be registered within 90 days of creation.

It is the responsibility of the trustee who should register the trust, not the person who created it (the settlor). Registration is online and can be made via

HMRC guidelines state that the following types of trusts must now be registered, even if they have no tax liability:

  • all UK express trusts — unless they are specifically excluded
  • non-UK express trusts, for example trusts that:
    • acquire land or property in the UK
    • have at least one trustee resident in the UK and enter into a ‘business relationship’ within the UK

An ‘express’ trust is one which is created on purpose by a settlor (a person putting assets into a trust) rather than one which is created through something like a court decision. An example would include a family discretionary trust.

Some trusts will still be exempt from registration. These include trusts imposed by statute and trusts relating to pensions, charities and vulnerable beneficiaries for example. We would be happy to supply a full list of exemptions.

Please speak to your adviser or accountant if you require help in this area. Sandison Lang provides a registration service to make life easier.

If you would like to find out more about trusts or the registration service, please email or call 01732 365351.

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