Government sets out policy on TRS data disclosure

Government sets out policy on TRS data disclosure

The conditions for disclosure of data contained within the Trust Registration Service (TRS) have been set out by HM Revenue & Customs.

All express trusts, except those registered as exempt as part of a narrow group of exclusions, must be registered onto the system by 1st September under the EU’s Fourth and Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directives.

The new system for trust data requests is also set to launch on 1st September. As well as this, the time limit for trustees to inform HMRC of changes to any information within the register has been set at 90 days.

In terms of disclosure, the 5AMLD requires the reister to available in principle for public scrutiny, though the UK is set to have a strict regime of examinations before requests are accepted.

HMRC will disclose data where the person requesting demonstrates “legitimate interest” in the information. According to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), this means “the request must be concerned with a specific instance of money laundering or terrorist financing in relation to a specific trust and the information on the register that is the subject of the request will further that investigation”.

Legitimate interest is not, however, demonstrated where the requester cannot “sufficiently show reasonable grounds for suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing on the specific trust on which the request has been made”.

Another rule under which a request may be made is the “offshore company rule”, whereby a trust holds a controlling interest – usually 50% or more – in a legal entity or company situated within a third country.

If a request for information is granted by HMRC, disclosure will be limited to beneficial owners associated with the trust. STEP note that this includes name, month and year of birth, country of residence, nationality, and role in the trust. For companies and legal entities, information is limited to name, office address and role in the trust.

There are also certain types of excluded trusts where disclosure will be refused, such as non-UK trusts with no UK-resident trustees that are only registered due to holding UK property. HMRC will also refuse to disclose information on individuals under certain specific exemptions, such as being under 18.

Read the full Trust Registration Service Manual here.

Jamie Lennox

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