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HMRC continue to face issues with TRS

HMRC’s new Trusts Register is designed to provide a single point of access for trustees and their agents to register and update their records online, replacing the paper 41G(Trust) form (which was withdrawn from April 2017) and the ad hoc process for trustees to notify changes in their circumstances. Initially, new trusts had until 5 October 2017 to register, but this deadline was subsequently extended to 5 January 2018. The registration deadline for existing trusts was also extended to 5 March 2018. Registration must be done online using HMRC’s Trust Registration Service (TRS).

The TRS aims to provide a single online route for trusts and estates to comply with their registration obligations. However, delays and technical issues with the system continue to be experienced by many users.

Unfortunately it is not yet possible to update the Trust Register, as HMRC have not added that functionality to the website -changes to the lead trustee have to be notified by post (see below).

HMRC have advised that when completing a trust tax return, box 20.1 should be left blank, as it is currently not possible for lead trustees, or their agents, to update the registered information using the online Trust Registration Service (TRS), or to declare that there have not been any changes to the registered information.

Question 20 on page 11 of the trust return (SA900) asks for confirmation that the Trust Register is accurate and up-to-date. HMRC are currently consulting on this and have advised to leave this box blank until the service is available. Importantly, they have confirmed that they will not seek to impose a penalty charge for not answering the question in the return.

Any changes to the lead trustee’s name or address continue to be notifiable in writing. Such changes must be notified by 31 January of the tax year after either:

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

Details of the changes should be sent to HMRC, Trust, BX9 1EL.

For further information, see www.gov.uk/guidance/register-your-clients-trust.

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