UK government clarifies trust registration rules following 5AMLD

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published the outcome of a technical consultation on the implementation of the EU Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) and its impact on trust registration.

It has been clarified that offshore trustees entering into a business relationship in the UK will not have to register the trust on HMRC’s Trust Registration Service (TRS) unless there is at least one UK-resident trustee, which was instead prescribed by the original regulation. Nonetheless, any non-UK trust acquiring land or property in the UK will be required to register on TRS. Furthermore, trusts already registered in another EU Member State will be automatically exempt from UK registration.

The deadline to comply with the registration is 10 March 2022, and a 30 day deadline will be granted to new trust and trusts that need to file updates. Trusts created by will, instead, are going to be exempted as the administration of the estate operates over a longer timescale.

HMRC published a broader list of exempted trusts, which includes also:

  • charitable trusts regulated in the UK;
  • trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries or bereaved minors;
  • certain trusts used as part of financial markets infrastructure;
  • co-ownership trusts, where the trustees and beneficiaries are the same persons.

In response to the privacy concerns, the government will adopt a ‘legitimate interest’ criterion for public access to the register, and each request will be reviewed on its own merits and access will be given only when there is evidence of a money laundering or terrorist financing activity.