Trust Ownership Register: The U.K. tax authority has missed the deadline to launch its online register for the beneficial ownership of trusts as the government grapples with the legislative fallout of this month’s snap general election. HMRC were expected to launch their online beneficial ownership register for trusts on 26 June which would give it unprecedented power to find misuse of them.
This comes amid the government’s struggle to implement legislation planned before the snap general election was called on 8 June. According to a spokeswoman for HMRC, the register will be available later “in the summer.”
Emily Deane, technical counsel at the U.K.’s Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, told Bloomberg BNA in a June 27 email that HMRC is asking customers to “postpone” notifications on a new trust or complex estate due to the delay. Customers can notify again “when the new service is operational.” Customers can expect “further guidance” from HMRC on “key issues” for the register, she added.
As part of HMRC’s online Trust Ownership Register, the individual controlling any existing trust must provide information about the people involved before the April 5, 2018, filing deadline. The registration requirement applies to any trust with a U.K. tax liability, regardless of whether they are located onshore or offshore.
Through the register, the person controlling a trust will disclose the social security numbers of U.K. residents, and the passport numbers of non-U.K. residents, involved in the trust.
Collecting this sort of information will allow HMRC and U.K. law enforcement agencies to “draw links between all parties related to an asset in a trust,” the tax authority said in September 2016. In turn, that allows a “marked change” in their ability to identify and interrupt suspicious activities.
“It’s quite a big deal,” Priya Dutta, a senior tax manager at London-based tax adviser Mark Davies & Associates Ltd., told Bloomberg BNA by telephone June 20. “There’s a lot of information that HMRC are going to get, and you can imagine that they’re going to look into things very carefully.”
Summary of original article by Ben Stupples, Bloomberg BNA