HMRC confirms IT delays to Trust Registration Service upgrade

HMRC has announced further IT delays to the upgrading of the Trust Registration Service (TRS).

The delay will result in the date by which existing trusts must register being pushed beyond the original March 2022 deadline.

The list of trusts required to register with the government’s online TRS was expanded when the EU Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Regulations came into force in January 2020. This wider scope included a large number of non-tax paying trusts.

Trusts can currently register but material changes such as a change of trustee or routine administration such as a change of correspondence address cannot be made online, even though they are meant to be made within 30 days.

HMRC had previously stated that existing unregistered trusts would need to be registered on the TRS by 10 March 2022. The upgraded IT system is now not expected to open until an unspecified date in summer 2021.

To compensate, HMRC has announced that it intends to defer the deadline for the registration of existing trusts to 12 months after the upgraded TRS is implemented.

WAY Investment Services has urged trustees and financial advisers to continue to keep detailed records about all trusts so that they are ready and prepared for when they need to register, in the absence of a confirmed launch date.

“Trustees are doing all they can to prepare for these changes and the requirements of online registration, but without the implementation of the upgraded TRS we cannot fulfil our obligations,” commented WAY trust operations manager, Kevin Barker. “We understand and appreciate that COVID-19 has been disruptive, but that is true for everyone.

“So far we have been working with a system that is currently not fit for purpose. There are simple updates that should be possible to do online, such as amending a name or address. Instead, we have to submit even straightforward administrative changes to HMRC on paper, via post, which is unnecessarily time-consuming.

“This latest announcement confirming more delays is very frustrating. Without the implementation of the upgraded TRS, it is hard to see how this is going to contribute to the stated aim of tackling terrorist financing and money laundering.”

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