Trust Register (4MLD)

The latest HMRC Trusts and Estates newsletter says that the Trust Register will require values of the Trust Assets. Is anyone aware of the date that the value should refer to? For Trusts that are holding real property should we be advising the trustees to make arrangements for current valuations?

Cathy Ratchford
Harrison Renwick

I would think yearly valuations of all properties in a trust would be sufficient. Yes, 2017 will be a great year for valuers.

Julian Cohen, Solicitor

Has anyone raised the issue with HMRC as to whether trusts of land actually fall within the scope of the register?

Under English law, pre and post ToLATA 1996, these are land, not otherwise. It is arguable whether they fall within the scope of the much abused Hague Convention 1985, to which the United Kingdom made certain points in the preliminary work.

As such “land” is situated within the English jurisdiction, there was little point in making an issue out of its recognition by English courts then on the basis of lex situs - there is now.

Simply to allow our indigenous conveyancing and succession law practices to be tossed into the “panier à salade” of CRS reporting - every onomatopoeia intended - might be a dereliction of our professional duties. Parliament is as usual unconcerned, and the Executive even less so.

The scission of the function of Lord Chancellor has meant that there is presently no executive office encumbered with the duty to actually force the point into consideration at the international level, with the result that our laws are now subject to other organisations’ interests, and policies, not our own.

The trust of land is a convenient estate planning tool of little contention. Why allow the everyday business of land transfer to become blighted with irrelevant OECD / EU strictures, when neither organisation’s Treaty Charter enables these august institutions nor empower them to take such measures?

HMRC is starting to negotiate tax treaties on the basis that such property mechanisms are land; the recent Treaties with France and Poland incorporate such clauses in the rental definition.

There is really no reason why the French should not be summoned to place their conventions d’indivision on their register, of trusts, if this folly continues.

It would be naive to believe that transparency has ever been a part of the valuation process of land in London in any event, and that is covered by the current corporate drive. A buyer from a trustee, or a seller to a trustee will generally need to enquire as to the beneficiaries of the trust and make their own mind up in the event of a refusal.

Peter Harris