Changing lead trustee on TRS

Hi all,

We have a client who was a lead trustee, they have recently retired and all the trustees have been replaced. We have shown this change on the TRS register, however; we need to authorise accountants to file a tax return. We can only grant them access from the government gateway used to originally claim the trust, but that individual is no longer the lead trustee. How do we go about giving the new trustee full access to the trust? If we ‘authorise them’ then they still won’t have full access to grant other people permissions.

My question is, can you claim a trust once the trust has previously been claimed? has anyone had experience with this?


The TRS and the tax system are discrete things. Only linked by both being in the care an management of HMRC and by HMRC’s attempts to double up TRS registration with trustees’ obligation under s 7 TMA 1970 to tell HMRC that they are liable to IT or CGT or both.

The accountant doesn’t need any sort of ‘access’ to file a return. All that is required is the trust’s UTR. The procedures for giving HMRC authority to disclose information about the trust to the accountant (paper form 64-8 or online application for an access code) have no link to the TRS or the government gateway (so far).

If the accountant doesn’t know all this then I suggest you get a better informed accountant, although that might be difficult at this time of year.

So, file the return and then worry about restoring access. My answer to your question is try to do it and see far you get (and report back). As far as I know HMRC have not yet addressed the question of changing the lead trustee. My tip is always have a lead trustee who is ‘digitally excluded’ then, if this is a limitation of HMRC’s online system, it won’t cause problems when personnel change.

Hi Chris,

If I am reading this correctly, and I agree with Duncan re the Tax Return, anyone can access the TRS if they have the Government Gateway ID and password. The issue that will arise is getting access to the ‘code’ which gets issued for security purposes. The person who ‘claimed’ the trust will have set this up and it may be to their mobile/home phone or email. Are you able to check this? Once online access is granted, we do have notes on how to change where that code goes.

If you are not able to liaise with the person who set up the Gateway - it may be a call to HMRC tech.

Lucy Orrow CTA TEP
Lambert Chapman LLP

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We have a similar but related issue.

Lead trustee originally created a gateway account and claimed the trust, before appointing a firm of accountants to manage the TRS for them. My firm have subsequently been appointed both as a trustee and as agent. In order to finalise the tax return we need to access and approve the TRS, but the old “lead trustee” can’t access the account, or choses not to.

One solution would be for my firm to be appointed as a new “lead trustee” to claim the TRS and undertake the work, but this is not possible. HMRC’s systems note there is already a lead trustee account linked to the TRS and the system will not move it to another account, presumably for valid data security reasons.

We are putting in a call to HMRC tech to see if there is any way around this, but it has also made us consider what the implications would be should the lead trustee lose mental capacity for some reason, or die. How can the other trustees take over the TRS without an obvious mechanism for doing so? We also intend put this to HMRC tech (if we can) to see what they say.

Duncan McGowan
Stevens & Bolton LLP

[quote=“duncan.mcgowan, post:5, topic:17556”]
In order to finalise the tax return we need to access and approve the TRS, [/quote]

How come? Are you referring to question 20 and box 20.1?
If so:

  • There is no obligation to update the TRS before filing and, indeed, as only SA related tardiness results in automatic penalties it is unwise to prioritise the TRS over the return.
  • The question is only asking the state of play as at the point in time that the return is signed/approved
  • HMRC have no authority to ask the question* and can’t penalise a failure to answer (which might in any event be the truth).

*The purpose of the return is to establish the amount of tax due. Q 20 is not reasonably required for that purpose.

You’re quite correct, the trustees can confirm the TRS position at any point up to 31 Jan, so we can clearly file the return now without access to the TRS (and this is exactly what we have already done). What I should have said is “in order to finalise the annual compliance” rather than specifically the “tax return”, but the main point of my comment still stands over amending the lead trustee record.

Duncan McGowan
Stevens & Bolton LLP

Hi Lucy,

Are you able to share the notes on how to change where the code goes?

As an update to this query, we have now spoken to the TRS helpline.

HMRC note that in scenarios where either the lead trustee has died/lost capacity, or the trustees have changed, and the old lead trustee is either unwilling or unable to modify the TRS directly or appoint an agent to do this for them, the current trustees will need to write to HMRC to set out the background , wherein after passing a security check HMRC will “re-enroll” the government gateway ID so that the a new lead trustee can set up a government gateway account and claim the TRS records.

Given HMRC’s response times to postal enquiries I don’t hold out much hope of this being an easy process.

Duncan McGowan
Stevens & Bolton LLP

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