Urgent update on the Trust Registration Service

Paper filing is now available for agents needing to register trusts by 5 January 2018 who have tried to obtain a new Agent Services Account but do not have a sufficient digital footprint within HMRC.  

We have received reports that agents have been unable to access the TRS because they have been unable to create an Agent Services Account (ASA).  This is apparently due to HMRC security and a lack of digital footprint for that agency.  Cases we are aware of who have been unable to get an ASA include:

  • Solicitors who have not previously filed online and have had to create a new Government Gateway account in order to register for an ASA.  The new Gateway credentials do not have a digital footprint.
  • Sole traders are asked to identify themselves during the set up using their personal UTR.  Their personal UTR may not have an appropriate digital footprint in HMRC’s system.

The deadline to register a trust coming into self-assessment for the first time in 2016/17 is 5 January 2018.  Given this is approaching very rapidly, HMRC are therefore allowing only agents who have, as yet, been unable to create an ASA due to a lack of digital footprint to submit a paper form to obtain a UTR for these trusts.  Provided the paper form is submitted to HMRC prior to 5 January 2018 HMRC say no penalty will be charged.

The paper ‘data capture’ form will only be made available to those who cannot obtain an ASA.  It can be requested from the Trusts and Estates helpline - 0300 123 1072.  Agents must use HMRC’s form so that HMRC will be able to process it.  Agents can use a photocopy of this form. 

Where the agency has existing trusts which need to be registered by 31 January 2018, following an announcement in December, these can now be registered on or before 5 March 2018 without incurring a late filing penalty.  HMRC are asking affected agents not to complete paper forms for these trusts, but to wait until they receive their ASA and can access the TRS. 

ATT and CIOT will be making representations to HMRC about the timescale of this announcement from HMRC and continue to request that HMRC take a soft line on penalties.

The full text of the email received by ATT and CIOT from HMRC on 20 December 2017 is as follows:

“Thank you for your emails about the access to the online Trust Registration Service (TRS) by smaller firms like for example solicitors that have not previously interacted with HMRC through our existing online services.

“The new Agent Services account is being delivered in an iterative way and the majority of agencies have successfully registered but we know this hasn’t been the case for all users. We hope to have a solution for those UK based agents who cannot open an Agent Services account because they have no HMRC digital footprint in early January 2018.

“We are in the process of updating our guidance and contacting those agents that have approached us who are experiencing this issue to provide them with advice on what they should do. We are recommending that, where you are registering an existing trust bound by the 31 January 2018 registration deadline, (which as you know we are not applying a penalty on a trustee or agent acting on behalf of a trustee if they submit registration after 31 January 2018 and by 5 March 2018) then you should wait until you have access to the TRS in early January 2018.  We will be sending a further email in the New Year to notify agents when they will be able to access the service. We will inform professional and representative bodies like yourselves at the same time and would appreciate it if you could pass on this message to your members. 

“However, if you need to register a new trust that is bound by the 5 January 2018 deadline then agents who are unable to access TRS because they have no previous interaction with HMRC online services are able to request a data capture form by contacting the trust helpline. Only agents in this specific situation should request this form.”


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