New rules governing trusts have been brought in as part of a Europe-wide initiative to combat money laundering and the funding of terrorism.
The scope of the new legislation includes an online register which requires trustees to submit information to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs by a deadline.
Plymouth solicitor Lucy Atwill says trusts need to have registered details online by October 5 for the 2016-2017 tax year and by January 31 2018 for tax years prior to 6 April 2016.
“The rules are very complex and will require any trustees to maintain accurate and up-to-date records with HRMC. The legislation will affect all trustees and beneficiaries,” says Lucy, head of the Wills and Probate department at Curtis Whiteford Crocker solicitors in Plymouth.
The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 came into force in June and are aimed at providing clear information about trusts and beneficiaries. The new HMRC online register, which was launched in July for individual trustees, can be accessed by law enforcement agencies including the Police and the National Crime Agency.
All UK residents trusts must be registered and trusts for non-UK residents which have a tax liability in this country including income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax and stamp duties.
“Trustees need to act now to meet the deadline by providing information about the trust including the way it is set up, its assets, advisors and any beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries. The register will need to be accurate and updated every year,” says Lucy.
“This new register will also hold information on the trustees including any passport number. The process will be very thorough and could be quite complicated. But the government takes the issue very seriously and any trustees who fail to comply could face fines and criminal charges. It’s important to get it right.”