TRS Digital Handshake - letter of authority?

I have asked a trustee client to begin the TRS digital handshake process to authorise me to access the trust register as an agent. The client is also a trustee for a trust that is looked after by another firm (Firm X). The client tells me that Firm X has advised that if trustees don’t want to get tangled up in the digital process, a letter of authority from the trustees will be sufficient to allow Firm X to complete the process on the trustees’ behalf. I was not aware that this was possible - is it accepted practice?

Tessa Manisty
Phillips Lewis Smith

I am not aware of this being a possibility but would be interested to know if it is. I think we have nearly got all ours ‘claimed’ by helping the trustees get their account set up and then applying for authorisation.

Lucy Orrow CTA TEP
Lambert Chapman LLP

Hi

Ditto - I am not aware that this is an accepted route. The only non-digital approach that I am aware of applies when the trustee is digitally excluded - all the details we have about this process is in the ATT ‘how to’ guide (https://www.att.org.uk/how-update-trust-register#Digitally%20excluded%20trustees).

Is Firm X basically getting a letter of authority to set up a Government Gateway for the trustee then - and then logging in themselves to complete the digital handshake? That is the only way I could see it could be done. If so, for any professional firm signed up to PCRT I would expect that could give issues as advisers are not supposed to know the Government Gateway details for their clients. I’d have to check with our prof standards team if a letter of authority overrode that general requirement (definitely not for me to pronounce on prof standards matters) but it makes me nervous.

Thanks
Helen Thornley
Association of Taxation Technicians

Thank you both for your input. It can be hard to know what other firms doing and I wondered if we had been inconveniencing our clients (and ourselves!) by going the traditional route - so it’s reassuring to know this is not the case.

Tessa Manisty
Phillips Lewis Smith