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Advice firms urged to keep trust details as TRS delayed further

25 March 2021

WAY Investment Services has urged advisers to hold on to trust details as HM Revenue & Customs announced further IT delays to the upgrading of its Trust Registration Service.

As part of the EU Fifth Anti-Money Laundering regulations that came into force in January 2020, the number of trusts needed to register with the government’s online TRS was greatly expanded to include a large number of non-tax paying trusts.

While unregistered trusts were originally told to register by 10 March 2022, HMRC has announced that it will defer the deadline for the registration of trusts to 12 months after the upgraded TRS is implemented. The new system is not expected to open until this summer.

Under the existing system, trusts can register but are unable to make material changes online, resulting in advisers having to submit administrative changes to HMRC via post.

Kevin Barker, trust operations manager, WAY Investment Services, called the current system “not fit for purpose” and said advisers should continue to keep detailed trust records so they are ready and prepared for the full system to launch.

Barker said: “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. 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.”

Professional Paraplanner