Trust register (again!)

I know there is another thread on this topic although it seems to have diverted somewhat to technical points rather than HMRC administration……

Does anyone know, is access available to Agents yet?

When I’ve tried this past week to register as an agent via the HMRC page for Trusts and Estate Registration service the link there (Use the Estates online service to register your new or existing trust) takes me to the usual Agent log-in boxes but when I then move forward, ( ) I get a direction that “Before you can sign up for the new Agent Services account, you must request access. Please email us at………”

I’ve now emailed twice but without any further progress. Is this the correct way to be going about it?

Lesley Rance

Miller Hendry

This email arrived from HMRC at 6pm last night:

"I would like to provide you with an update about agents’ access to the TRS.

We mentioned in our April and September editions of the Trusts and Estates newsletters that the TRS project is being delivered through a number of phases. The first phase, which went live on 10 July, allows lead trustees to access the TRS and ensured that we met the basic legal requirements of the EU Directive in order to avoid the UK being infracted by the European Commission with the legal, reputational and financial consequences that would entail for the UK government and taxpayer.

The second phase, allowing agents to access the TRS on behalf of trustees, we said we would deliver in October 2017. Unfortunately, in the course of carrying out rigorous testing of this phase we have identified some technical errors. We are doing everything we can to resolve those issues as quickly as possible so that the system works as intended from the moment it is released.

I appreciate the concerns and anxiety that agents have expressed to us in recent days and weeks by not having access to the TRS.

Once agents have access to the TRS, the new service will provide a single online service for trusts to comply with their registration obligations which in turn will improve the processes around the administration of trusts and allow HMRC to collect, hold and retrieve up to date information in a central electronic register.

To reiterate what we said back in September, that in this first year of TRS, to allow sufficient time to complete the registration of a trust or complex estate for SA and provide beneficial ownership information, there will be no penalty imposed where registration is completed after 5 October 2017 but before 5 December 2017.

I will provide you with an update next week."

Robin Vos
Macfarlanes LLP

I was due to do a ‘test in live’ last week but didn’t have sufficient information to do the set up. on this basis I would assume they are still testing. It’s looking like December isn’t going to be sufficient time at this rate!

Lucy Orrow
Lambert Chapman LLP

I registered an existing trust for Self-assessment (SA) first.
I already had access to the trust details via my agent SA gateway. I thought registering a trust would requie me to create the trust’s own HMRC account. Which I did.

I tried to login using the current trust’s HMRC login at:

And it came up with this:
This Government Gateway account is already registered for government services. To register a trust or estate you’ll need to create a new Government Gateway account

Does this mean, a trust will need two HMRC accounts, for SA and another for trust register?!

Sameera Nathoo

Agents can access client records via their SA account as normal.

The Trust Online service is separate and will require a separate login for Agents - a pain = yes

Your email suggests that you are logging directly as a Trustee? This still requires separation from the SA client record and if you are not doing it as an Agent, then each trust will need a separate account. NB Agents cannot update existing clients yet.

Lucy Orrow
Lambert Chapman LLP

Thanks Lucy for this clarification.
One has to wonder why they need a new govt gateway account for the trust register if the trust has a SA gateway account.

Sameera Nathoo

…because the trust register (I believe) will be “available” information, whereas the SA info is private.

Lucy Orrow
Lambert Chapman LLP

My understanding was that the trust register was confidential to HMRC.

Julian Cohen, Solicitor

Further to my initial posting, I have now received the following email from HMRC -

"Thank you for getting in touch regarding registering a Trust.
_Before you register a Trust you will need to set up an Agents account. _
I am providing details and links for you to follow:
To Register for the New Agent Services
If you have already set up the agent account service (MTD) you will need the Government Gateway ID and password you created when setting this up you can then use this to sign into the Trust form

If you haven’t you will need to firstly enter your existing agent government gateway ID/password and then will be asked to set up the Agent Account To do this you need the company ( agency) UTR and postcode that relates to that UTR this can be found on CT or SA returns. Once you have set this up you will need to sign out and go to this link to commence the Trust journey The first page of the Trust form will ask to enter the Government Gateway ID and password you have just created for the Agent account.

Information you will need to Register a Trust

If you are registering an existing an existing Trust you will need:

Name, UTR and Postcode relating to the Trust

For both existing and new Trusts you will need
• NI, DOB, Telephone and email addresses of all those involved in the trust including trustees, settlors, beneficiaries.
• Details of the assets including amounts and dates.

_Thanks _

Trusts & Estates Registration Team"

Lesley Rance

Miller Hendry

I received the same email as Lesley yesterday and I went through the new process for registering for Agent Services - initially logging in with my usual Gvt Gateway ID & password. I was then prompted to identify my agent details including our p’ship UTR. When I entered those details there was then a screen with a different User ID and a Gateway Agent ID, a “next” link presented a further screen confirming I’d successfully created and Agent Services account and with an account number. So far so good?!

…Unfortunately that’s where it all went pear shaped as when I tried the link to register a trust I was redirected back to the screen" Before you can sign up for the new Agent services account you must request access…" Two hours of trying links & searches later I was still unable to progress matters and when I was finally able to start a Webchat with HMRC I was told that they were having technical difficulties and they wouldn’t be able to answer queries re their online services. Sigh!

C Byrne

After a fair bit of to-do, I have managed to set up the agent services account and access the trust register. I’ve not managed to register a trust yet, but already have two issues. Firstly, even having done what we have, I can only go into the trust register through a saved link, as the link on the HMRC page still takes me to the message asking us to email them, much like in the comment above. Secondly, there is no option to register an estate. It takes you directly to trust questions which of course do not apply. I am feeling rather lost!
I may just go for the “try again tomorrow” option in case this is all down to their technical difficulties!

Katherine Webber
Birketts LLP

The new account that has to be created is the Agent Services Account; this is the one that will eventually be the access for the agent to all their services including MTD (making tax digital). HMRC can share the information on the trust register with law enforcement agents, as per the FAQ from HMRC:
Under the terms of the legislation the following organisations are deemed as the UK law enforcement authorities who HMRC can share the data contained in the TRS:
 Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
 National Crime Agency (NCA)
 the police forces maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996(a)
 the Police of the Metropolis
 the Police for the City of London
 the Police Service of Scotland
 the Police Service of Northern Ireland
 the Serious Fraud Office (SFO)

Sue Moore,

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I managed to create an account, got confirmation from HMRC that all was in order - same issue as above, have to follow from the shortcut in the email (saved now as a link) - managed to load the information for an existing Trust only to be met with the 500- message - sorry we are having technical issues. The only saving grace is that when I log back in, the Trust information is there, I just can’t submit it and move on to another one. Still no word on moving the deadline? This is going to take far longer than 6 1/2 weeks at this rate.

Nicola Fox

HMRC seems to think we keep our clients’ grandchildren’s National Insurance numbers in a box by the bed. Of course it will take considerably longer than 6 ½ weeks.

Julian Cohen, Solicitor

I am a bit confused at what is meant by this note from HMRC re agents accessing the register:
"This account will also have 2 Step Verification. This means that, in addition to a username and password, agents will need to associate a mobile, landline or HMRC app to their account to receive security codes. Agents can also set up delegate access for individual staff members to access the main Agent Services account. Larger firms may therefore want to consider setting up their TRS access centrally."
How can a large firm ‘associate a mobile’ with their account - and what do they mean by’setting up their TRS access centrally’?
We will have a lot of info to gather and then input in an increasingly shortening amount of time and we will need a lot of staff to have access to the TRS. I agree that HMRC seem to be assuming that we already hold all this info. We don’t.

Caroline Cummings

Hi Caroline, those words look rather familar to me from an ATT post I did earlier this week (now amended and likely to be amended again). I dont have any Big Four experience to help, but feel I ought to try and explain more for smaller/mid-tier.

At present Government Gateway accounts for agents are largely just secured by password. You have a username and password and access is granted. Lots of firms also have more than one Government Gateway account, often shared between many staff. With the new Agent Services being developed for Making Tax Digital each firm will have just one main account through which all services will be provided. Staff are then given delegate access - so effectivly their own access rights to the main account. Again, for a small practice probably not that bad to add on your tax team and set access rights, but how that translates to Big Four I can’t begin to imagine.

We have been told that during the set up you have to associate this main account with a device which can receive a pass code. This needs to be reentered every 12-18mths. Again, that makes sense for a sole practitioner who associates his own mobile, and probably up to mid tier where it’s done by the IT team. I’d personally be tempted to acquire a mobile for this purpose. The main thing is that the code has to go to a device which the agency can easily access. By setting up centrally I mean some bit of the firm - IT dept, allocated partner, someone - takes responsblity for setting all this up so the agency has full control over the main account and the creation of sub-access for staff. You wouldn’t want the code going to a device owned by a member of staff who happens to be on holiday for example, or one who has left and taken a personal mobile with them. I didn’t mean to imply that the actual work of making returns on the TRS needed to be centralised, just the access log ins. The Agent Services account created will be used in the future by other parts of the firm, so it’s unlikely that you’d want it set up in the trust department, tied to the senior trust partner’s phone!

Professional bodies have been pushing to get this clarified.

I hope this helps. I (and others) are trying to get clarity on the TRS access this morning. I thought I understood 24hrs ago, not so sure now!

Helen Thornley
Association of Taxation Technicians

Has anybody had any issues setting up the Agent Services Account?

I have used our normal agent SA gateway username/passwords and then when requested I have input our firms UTR and postcode to be met with ‘There is no agent business linked to this account’.

Having spoken to HMRC Trusts a number of times they aren’t able to help me work out what the problem is…:weary:

Lauren Dare
Macfarlanes LLP

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For non-resident trusts with only income tax on UK source assets , do these trusts need to declare ALL assets in the trust?
A valid question and concern from offshore trustees at the moment.

Sameera Nathoo

I believe so, yes. There are no restrictions anywhere in the legislation or (one page of) guidance and the general thrust seems to be to collect as much info as possible.

It will mostly be too late for concerned trustees but in future it may be sensible or desirable (where affordable) to hold UK assets in a separate trust or via a company so that the trust itself does not incur UK tax.

Andrew Goodman
Osborne Clarke LLP

Thank you

I agree with your suggestion.

A further point comes to mind.
An offshore trust which holds a UK residential property via a non-resident company.
Before 6/04/2017, it only used to pay income tax via SA700 to HMRC, but now also caught in the new IHT provisions.

The guidance mentions that offshore trusts which hold UK assets via non-resident trusts don’t need to register.

  1. However, would this not be the case where this trust only holds UK assets other than property?

  2. Would an offshore trust paying income tax and IHT for the property held by its non-resident company be caught in TRS net?

There are now also some offshore trust which hold property via non-resident company but does not rent it out. Which is not caught in the new IHT provisions. 3)These type of trusts would be caught in the TRS?

Sameera Nathoo