UK online Trust Registration Service now available to agents
In order to register a trust, the agent must create an Agent Services account. As yet, this cannot be done online because it is not yet fully live, and the online service is being made available only to agents who are already working with HMRC's limited pilot system for its Making Tax Digital project.
Instead, each individual agent has to email HMRC and ask to join the service. They will then be sent a web link giving them access to Agent Services and some guidance on what to do in order to subscribe to the TRS. They will not, however, be offered the option of linking existing government gateway IDs and client relationships.
Agents or trustees who have already registered their trusts using the now-discontinued paper form 41G will find that none of that information has been transferred across to the online TRS. Each trust must be separately registered. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) makes a 'conservative estimate' that it will take more than three hours, plus waiting time, to collect information from trustees and beneficiaries to complete each registration.
The registration deadline is 5 December 2017 for trusts not yet registered. Beneficial ownership information for UK and non-UK trusts that are either already registered for self-assessment or do not require registration, but which incurred a tax liability in the 2016/17 tax year, must be supplied by 31 January 2018.
Reports suggest that Agent Services – and, therefore, TRS - will be fully live for agents at the end of October or the beginning of November, though this may be subject to change.
Ultimately, it is envisaged all HMRC services will be provided via the Agent Services Account (ASA) system. However, whereas agents may have a number of government gateways, there will be only one ASA per agency. ASAs will also be secured by 2 Step Verification. This means that, in addition to a user name and password, agents will need to associate a mobile phone, landline or HMRC app with their ASA, so that they can receive access security codes. 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', commented the Association of Taxation Technicians. 'It is therefore unlikely that the trust department will be best placed to set this up for the firm.'
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