The Trust Registration Service Goes Live for Agents

HMRC have advised that the Trust Registration Service (TRS) went live for agents to access on 17 October.  The text of their statement to the Trusts and Estates Group is below.  

We are advised that a new Agent Services Account (ASA) will need to be set up as part of the process to access the TRS.  The new ASA is being developed as part of Making Tax Digital for Business and ultimately it is envisaged all HMRC services will be provided via this portal.  Whereas agents may have a number of Government Gateways, there will only be one ASA per agency.  ASAs will also be secured by 2 Step Verification.  This means that, in addition to a username and password, agents will need to associate a mobile, landline or HMRC app with their ASA to which security codes can be sent.  Agents can then set up delegate access for individual staff members to access the main ASA for the firm. 

Agents registering for TRS will need to think carefully about who should set up this account, as an ASA created during registration for TRS will become the sole access point to other HMRC services in the future.  It is therefore unlikely that the trust department will be best placed to set this up for the firm.

Both the ATT and CIOT are seeking further guidance on the interaction of ASAs and the TRS.  There is limited guidance on ASA at present – members may find an HMRC Talking Points from earlier this year helpful as an overview of Agent Services. 

Update from HMRC:

“From 17 October, the Trust Registration Service (TRS) is available to agents filing on behalf of trustees. Please see the following link for further details on how to gain access to the TRS.

The new TRS allows agents, acting on behalf of trustees, to register trusts and complex estates online and to provide information on the beneficial owners of those trusts or complex estates. The new service, which was launched in July 2017 for lead trustees, replaces the 41G (Trust) paper form, which was withdrawn at the end of April 2017. This is now the only way that trusts and complex estates can obtain their SA Unique Taxpayer Reference. As part of this online process, agents will be taken through the steps to create an Agent Services account before they can register on behalf of trustees.

In this first year of TRS, to allow sufficient time to complete the registration of a trust or complex estate for SA and provide beneficial ownership information, there will be no penalty imposed where registration is completed after 5 October 2017 but before 5 December 2017.

For both UK and non-UK express trusts which are either already registered for SA or do not require SA registration, but incur a liability to relevant UK taxes, the trustees are required to provide beneficial ownership information about the trust, using the TRS, by 31 January following the end of tax year. This means, if the trustees of a UK or non-UK express trust incurred a liability to any of the relevant UK taxes in tax year 2016-17, in relation to trust income or assets, then the trustees or their agent need to register that trust on TRS by no later than 31 January 2018.

The relevant taxes are:

  • income tax
  • capital gains tax
  • inheritance tax
  • stamp duty land tax
  • stamp duty reserve tax
  • land and buildings transaction tax (Scotland).

The new service will provide a single online service for trusts to comply with their registration obligations. This will improve the processes for the administration of trusts and allow HMRC to collect, hold and retrieve information in a central electronic register.

More information is available in the September’s Trusts & Estates Newsletter.

Finally, we published on Monday 9 October our guidance in the form of a FAQ note to help our customers understand the TRS requirements. Here is a link to that guidance.

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