The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to increase the Bank of England base rate to 0.75% on 2 August 2018. HMRC interest rates are linked to the Bank of England base rate and, as a consequence of the change, HMRC interest rates for late payment will be increased.
These changes came into effect on:
• 13 August 2018 for quarterly instalment payments;
• 21 August 2018 for non-quarterly instalment payments.

Repayment interest rates remain unchanged. The current late payment interest rate applied to the main taxes and duties that HMRC currently charges has been 3% since 21 November 2017, so this is expected to rise to 3.25%.

However, HMRC will update its information on the interest rates for late payments shortly. There’s no news from HMRC as to whether there will be any change in the official rate of interest, used to calculate tax on employee loans and the pre-owned asset tax charge. This rate has been 2.5% since 6 April 2017.
It is estimated that in 2020/21 there will be a £5.5 billion funding gap in the costs of social care. This is set to rise to £12 billion by 2030. Meeting the potential huge future costs of care is therefore a massive headache for the Government. Originally, they were planning to release their proposals on dealing with this problem in the Summer, but this has been delayed to the Autumn.

It has been reported in the Sunday Telegraph that in its upcoming Social Care Green Paper the Government is planning to introduce a “Care ISA” as a means of dealing with the problem.

An investor could make encashments from a Care ISA to meet his/her care costs. Any residual value of the ISA would be free of inheritance tax on death.

Currently the value of ISAs on death counts as part of the deceased investor’s estate and could be subject to inheritance tax if the estate:
-passes to somebody other than the surviving spouse or a charity; and
-exceeds £325,000 in value.

Of course, ISAs that invest in AIM securities may qualify for 100% business relief once they have been held for two years.

A surviving spouse benefits from an extra ISA allowance equal to the value of the deceased’s ISA on death.

The introduction of a Care ISA is just one of the possible solutions available to the Government. Another would be to grant tax freedom on funds withdrawn from pension funds that are used to meet the cost of an individual’s care.

The introduction of the Care ISA would nonetheless be good way of encouraging people to make investments that would cover the costs of their care. It would also mean that the Government could reduce the need to raise taxes to meet the costs of care.

However, care costs are largely an unknown quantity and it may therefore be difficult for savers to estimate how much to set aside. Restrictions would also be needed to prevent people using the Care ISA as a form of last-minute IHT planning.

All will be revealed when the Green Paper is published.
HMRC has published updated guidance on higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) that apply on buying an additional residential property for £40,000 or more. It covers who has to pay, the property it applies to and claiming a refund.
Note that SDLT isn’t payable on a property bought in:
• Scotland from 1 April 2015 – instead Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) is payable;
• Wales from 1 April 2018 – instead Land Transaction Tax (LTT) is payable.

Who has to pay the higher rates of SDLT?
The higher rates apply even if the buyer intends to live in the property that they are buying (and regardless of whether or not they already own a residential property). This is because the rules don’t just apply to the buyer, but also to anyone they are married to, in a civil partnership with, or buying with.

Married couples and civil partners
  • The rules apply to both individuals as if they were buying the property together, even if they’re not.
  • If either of them individually has to pay the higher rates, he or she must pay the higher rates for the transaction as a whole (unless they are permanently separated).
  • Buying with someone else
  • The rules apply to each person (and their spouse or civil partner) who is buying the property.
  • If any of them individually has to pay the higher rates, he or she must pay the higher rates for the transaction as a whole.
  • Buying as a trustee
  • The rules may apply to the beneficiary of the trust and not to the trustee, depending on the type of trust it is.
  • If the trustee is buying on behalf of a bare / absolute trust, the beneficiary of the trust will be treated as the buyer.

The beneficiary will also be treated as the buyer if a trust holds property and the beneficiary is entitled to any of the following:
  • occupy the property for life;
  • receive income from the property.

If the beneficiary is under 18, the child’s parents are treated as the buyers (even if they are not the trustees) unless the child is covered by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 or the Mental Capacity Act [Northern Ireland] 2016.
The trustee will be treated as the buyer if it either:
  • is not a bare / absolute trust;
  • does not give the beneficiary a right to occupy a property for life or receive income from it.
  • If a trustee buys a property but none of the above apply (for example it’s a discretionary trust), the purchase is treated as if it were made by a company rather than an individual.

Buying as a company
• Companies must pay the higher rates for any residential property they buy if:
• the property is £40,000 or more;
• the interest they buy is not subject to a lease which has more than 21 years left.
• If the property costs more than £500,000, the 15% higher threshold SDLT rate for corporate bodies may apply instead. This can apply to companies, partnerships that include companies and collective investment schemes. HMRC provides further guidance.
• These bodies may also need to pay the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED).

An individual has to pay the higher rates of SDLT if their partnership already owns a residential property and he or she purchases another residential property for their partnership.

What property the higher rates of SDLT apply to?
Once it’s been established who the rules apply to, it’s necessary to work out how many residential properties each of the buyers will own at the end of the day of their new purchase.

If any of the buyers will own, or part own more than one residential property worth £40,000 or more, he or she will have to pay the higher rates on their new purchase (unless there is another reason why the higher rates do not apply).

It’s necessary to include any residential property that:
  • is owned on behalf of children under the age of 18 (parents are treated as the owners even if the property is held through a trust and they are not the trustees);
  • the buyer has an interest in as the beneficiary of a trust.

The buyer’s current home must be included if they still own it at the end of the day that he or she buys the new home.

The buyer will pay the higher rates on everything they pay, or give, for the purchase. That might include another type of payment such as:
• goods;
• works or services;
• release from a debt;
• transfer of a debt, including the value of any outstanding mortgage.

HMRC guidance provides further information on how to work out the consideration in complex situations.

When the higher rates of SDLT don’t apply
The higher rates do not apply to certain people, property and transactions. In addition, certain reliefs may apply.
People - The higher rates of SDLT don’t apply to anyone who will both:
• use their new property as their main home;
• have sold or given away the last main home they owned before they buy their new home (or on the same day).

Property - The higher rates of SDLT don’t apply to a property (or part of a property) if any of the following apply:
• the property is worth less than £40,000;
• it’s a mixture of residential and non-residential (like a shop with a flat above it);
• it’s ‘moveable’ like a caravan, houseboat or mobile home (unless it has become a permanent fixture).

The rules also don’t apply to purchases of:
• a leasehold interest originally granted for a period of less than seven years; or
• a freehold or leasehold interest that is subject to a lease with more than 21 years remaining.

Transactions - If one spouse or civil partner is transferring ownership (or part ownership) of a residential property to their spouse, the higher rates of SDLT don’t apply as long as no one else is involved in the transfer.

The higher rates of SDLT don’t apply if a person is increasing the amount of a property that they already own, provided all of the following apply:
• they already own 25% or more;
• the dwelling has been their only or main home for the previous 3 years;
• (if they’re extending a lease) their lease still has 21 years or more left to run.

Multiple dwellings relief - Someone buying 6 or more properties can choose to pay either the:
• non-residential rates of SDLT (not the higher rates);
• higher rates using multiple dwellings relief.

HMRC guidance provides further information on what reliefs are available.

When and how to get a refund

If someone sells their previous main home after they buy their new home they must pay the higher rates of SDLT and its only if they then sell or give away their previous main home within three years of buying their new home that they can apply for a refund of the higher SDLT rate part of their Stamp Duty bill.

A repayment can be applied for within three months of the sale of the previous main residence or within 12 months of the filing date of the return, whichever is the later, by:
• using the online form (by signing in or setting up a Government Gateway account);
• filling in the form on-screen, printing it off and posting it to HMRC.
Links to these forms can be found here.

Note that a refund can’t be claimed if the individual or their spouse / civil partner still owns any part of their previous home

The time limit for filing a SDLT return and paying any tax due will be reduced from 30 days to 14 days for land transactions with an effective date on or after 1 March 2019.
Supreme Court rules that legal permission will no longer be required to end care for patients in long-term vegetative state. For many years, as long as relatives agree and it is in the best interests of a patient who is in a minimally conscious or vegetative state, doctors have been able to withdraw treatment that will result in the end of someone's life without applying to the court for permission.

The type of treatment that could be withdrawn includes, for example, the withdrawal of life-saving dialysis. However, withdrawing food and water - the most basic requirements for life - has been handled differently. Since the case of Hillsborough survivor Anthony Bland in 1993, it has been regarded as a matter of practice that doctors must seek the approval of a court, even when they and relatives agree withdrawal would be in the best interests of the patient.

However, last week the UK’s highest Court upheld a ruling to the end-of-life decision making of a man with extensive brain injury. This means that it will now be easier to withdraw food and liquid to allow such patients to die across the UK. The Court of Protection has ruled on cases for 25 years although the process can take several months (or even years) and bears staggering costs for health authorities.

The result of this case is interesting to say the least. While it cuts across different ethical and religious beliefs it will no doubt be welcomed by many. After all, people are living longer and most family members do not want to see their loved ones in a vegetative state. In addition, even for those who have a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place this type of decision is not covered. So, while the attorney can make decisions on medical treatment, where a person is cared for, the type of care they receive etc…the power would not extend to being able to make a decision to end life.

The other option, of course, is to execute a living will which can include an advance decision which would become relevant if there came a time when an individual is unable to make or communicate their own decisions. Such a statement allows individuals to refuse treatment, even if this may lead to their death. It is also essential to note that an advance decision is legally binding which means that those who are caring for their loved ones must follow their instructions. In practice it would be advisable for the individual to give a copy of the statement to their GP and/or medical team as well as their loved ones so that they are aware of such decisions. However, such instructions will only be used if the individual loses capacity and is unable to make or communicate decisions about their treatment.
Chancellor Philip Hammond should scrap the lifetime individual savings account (LISA), bring in flat-rate tax relief on pensions, and remove the lifetime allowance (LTA). These were the recommendations of the Treasury Select Committee, in a report published last week. The committee’s main recommendation is that the current system of tax relief – whereby savers get tax relief on pension contributions at their highest marginal rate of income tax – should be replaced with a single flat rate. As MPs point out, the current system means that savers on high incomes get a disproportionate share of the annual £41bn in pension tax relief – more than 50% goes to those earning above £50,000. The committee also believes that the government should scrap LISAs. Although LISAs are steadily growing in popularity, MPs complained that the LISA rules are confusing, and that the ability to save for a property might also dissuade people from saving into their workplace pension, where they benefit from an employer’s contributions.
In a recent case the High Court held, on the basis of witness evidence, that a married couple had made mutual wills, despite apparently express wording to the contrary in each will. There are not many mutual wills and there is even less case law on the subject so when a case like this happens it is bound to be interesting.

Married couples often execute wills which are identical in their provisions, frequently giving the estate to the surviving spouse or if the spouse does not survive to the children. This is commonly referred as "mirror wills". However, not every mirror will is a "mutual will", indeed very few mirror wills are mutual wills.

In both types of will the terms of the will of one person will mirror the other person's will. However, with an ordinary mirror will the survivor can make a new will after the death of the first to die without any constraints and without having to have regard to the will of the first to die. A mutual will on the other hand is a will which is also a mirror will but where the two testators enter into an agreement that they will not revoke their will without the consent of the other testator. The consequence of this is that if the first individual dies without having altered the mutual will, the surviving testator is not able to alter their own will. Indeed, if there is any later will made, it would be ineffective to the extent that its provisions are different to the mutual will.

The main reason why individuals make mutual wills is where both testators wish to ensure that specific intended beneficiaries benefit from their estate after the second testator dies. This is often what the testators will be adamant about despite the fact that the arrangement is totally inflexible after the first of them dies. It would be usual to have something in writing confirming that the will is intended to be mutual. Conversely, very often in a mirror will there will be a provision confirming that the will is not intended to be a mutual will.

In the recent case Legg and Others v Burton and Others [2017] EWHC 2088 (Ch) the Court found the wills to be mutual despite an apparent contrary wording in them. The judge also stated that mutual wills might not require a contract and that they could be based on proprietary estoppel. Estoppel is an equitable rule which applies in English law whereby a court may prevent, or "estop", a person from going back on a promise they have made.

The result was therefore somewhat surprising and is perhaps a warning that a will may be considered to be mutual when this may not have been actually intended.

The facts of the case where as follows.

Mr and Mrs Clark had each made mirror wills in July 2000, each giving their estate to the surviving spouse or if the spouse did not survive then to their two daughters in equal shares. The wills were professionally drafted by a solicitor who attested the execution. Both wills included the following clause:

“My trustees shall pay my residuary estate to my spouse absolutely and beneficially and without any sort of trust or obligation”.

The wills also appointed the two daughters as executors and trustees. Mr Clark died in 2001 and his estate passed to his widow without the need for probate. Between 2004 and her death in 2016 Mrs Clark had made 13 separate wills, the last one being in December 2014 which left only small legacies to the two daughters with the remainder going to other beneficiaries. In that will Mrs Clark appointed one of her grandsons as the executor and he duly obtained probate.

The daughters challenged the 2014 will asserting that the original will executed in 2000 was one of a pair of mutual wills which therefore could not have been revoked by the later wills. The grandson executor defended the case on the basis that the 2000 will expressly provided that the estate was passing to the surviving spouse absolutely and beneficially without any sort of trust or obligation, therefore it could not have been a mutual will.

The two daughters claimed that the parents had made an agreement not to change their wills and this was explained to both of them as well as to the rest of the family at the time the wills were made. The Judge listened to the evidence from witnesses and clearly was more impressed by the evidence from the two daughters. He also examined the will carefully and concluded that the additional words about the assets passing to the surviving spouse absolutely and beneficially did not exclude the possibility of mutual wills, rather that this was a standard form clause which is regularly found in wills of this kind.

In conclusion, despite there being no direct evidence that an agreement for mutual wills was entered into, the Judge decided based on the witness statements that an agreement had been made and that a promise not to change the wills given orally to the daughters was binding. The outcome of the case was that the two daughters inherited the entire estate and the beneficiaries named in the later will received nothing.

It may be of concern that even if the wills do not expressly state that they are mutual wills and there is an apparent provision that the survivor is to take absolutely and beneficially, this may not be enough to declare a will merely a mirror will. If there is a dispute, the Court is entitled to take into account extrinsic evidence and the reliability or otherwise of any witnesses will be of paramount importance.

Interestingly the Judge quoted a suggestion from an earlier case that it is inherently improbable that in this day and age a testator should be prepared to give up the possibility of changing his or her will in the future whatever the change of circumstances. It has to be said that, generally speaking, it would be unusual to recommend that clients should make mutual wills, given that changing circumstances in families these days are so wide ranging and frequent. Surely when drafting any will flexibility is likely to be an important factor. However, the Judge in the above case disagreed with this assertion, quoting an example of a testator who knows he is dying and therefore he will have little interest in preserving his freedom to change his will in the future but every interest in ensuring that his wishes are carried out even after the death of his own beneficiaries.

In short every testator’s circumstances will be different and all will depend on their wishes. Clearly it is important though that those making wills are aware of the consequences of their words both written and spoken.
The Department of Work & Pensions has confirmed that it will exclude insurance pay outs that are designed to cover mortgage payments, when calculating means-tested benefits. Namely since 6 April 2018 those who suffer a loss of income from sickness or other causes can no longer receive state benefits to cover their mortgage interest payments, instead some may be offered a Support for Mortgage Interest Loan (SMIL) in which case DWP will, where possible, put a charge on their property.

In light of these changes the Income Protection Taskforce and the Building Resilient Households Group sought clarification from the DWP about how pay outs from income protection policies will be treated under the new SMI system. The DWP has now clarified the position and the relevant statement from the DWP is as follows:
"If insurance payouts are restricted to the payment of a mortgage – for example if it is paid direct to the lender – then these payouts will be disregarded in full. However, if the claimant has choice over how to spend the payment then only “any portion which the DWP judge to be intended and used for mortgage cover” will be disregarded."

For Universal Credit (UC), the DWP said: “From 6 April 2018 any payments or any payments analogous to payments for mortgage protection should not be taken into account as unearned income in UC.” A similar clarification has also been made for the existing Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Income Support, and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) benefits.

In light of this announcement there has been quite a lot of discussion amongst providers, especially whether new products will be necessary to ensure, for example, that payments from an income protection plan (IPP) can be made directly to a mortgage lender. A number of providers of IPPs are considering new product development to cater for this.From the point of view of the DWP and means testing, given what they have said, clearly it is not essential that payments should be made directly to the lender. Therefore in practice it should not make any difference whether payments are made directly or not, although clearly if payments are made directly to the lender it would save the claimant having to prove how they spend the benefits received.

On the other hand if a life office offering an IPP wanted to provide such a facility, they would need to have administrative procedures to deal with making payments to a third party and potentially making two lots of payments in respect of each claim, e.g. where the amount of benefit exceeds the amount of the mortgage. It remains to be seen whether new IPPs appear.

The clarification from DWP is, of course, welcome. It also serves as a reminder of the usefulness of these policies. It doesn’t however do anything to help those who do not have mortgages, i.e. the generation of renters. Surely there cannot be justification in the treatment of these benefits depending on whether they are used for mortgage payments or for rent; in both cases the payments are to provide a home for the individual and their family. Let's hope the DWP will in due course confirm that the renters will benefit from the same treatment as home owners.
TPR has fined a DB scheme trustee for failure to complete 2 valuations to the tune of £25,000. A trustee has been fined £25,000 by The Pensions Regulator for failing to complete two valuations for its defined benefit scheme. Rentokil Initial Pension Trustee Limited failed to complete 2012 and 2015 valuations of the Initial Hospital Service Limited No.1 Pension Scheme by their respective deadlines (July 2013 and July 2016).

DB scheme trustees are required to complete valuations every three years and, if the scheme is in deficit, they must submit a recovery plan and a schedule of contributions to TPR. As part of its clearer, quicker, tougher approach, since April 2017, TPR has issued nine Warning Notices for late valuations.

Nicola Parish, TPR’s Executive Director of Frontline Regulation, said:
“Agreeing a triennial valuation is a key priority for the trustee of a scheme and its sponsoring employer. It allows us to check the health of a scheme and its ability to provide members with their expected retirement benefits.
“We are monitoring valuation due dates more regularly and this fine shows we will take tough action sooner to put things right where breaches occur.”

TPR was informed the reason for the delay in completing both Initial Hospital Service valuations was a planned merger with a separate scheme run by sponsoring employer, Rentokil Initial Plc. TPR repeatedly advised the trustee that the proposed merger was not a valid reason for failing to comply with the statutory requirements and they should progress with agreeing both valuations with the employer.

When the proposed merger failed to happen and the valuations had not been submitted by the end of 2017, TPR decided to take formal action. TPR’s Determinations Panel (DP) upheld the recommendation that the trustee should be issued with a £25,000 fine under section 10 of the Pensions Act 1995 for its failure to take all reasonable steps to complete the valuations. The DP’s findings are set out in a Determination Notice.
The online Trusts Registration Service (TRS) has now superseded the old paper based system for registering trusts that generate tax consequences and imposes additional obligations on those trusts that are required to register. Here, we take a look at which trusts need to register on the TRS and what all trustees need to be aware of to ensure that they comply with their reporting obligations.

The Trusts Registration Service (TRS) is a new online service that provides a single route for trustees and personal representatives of complex estates to comply with their registration obligations under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (SI No. 2017/692), which came into force on 26 June 2017. The TRS replaces the paper 41G (Trust) form and the ad hoc process for trustees to notify HMRC of changes in their circumstances. Trusts that are required to register with HMRC are now required to do so through the TRS.

Which trusts need to register on the TRS?

• All UK express trusts where the trustees have incurred a tax liability in a given tax year; and
• All non-UK express trusts which receive UK source income or have UK assets on which the trustees have incurred a UK tax liability in a given tax year will need to register.

The term ‘express trust’ covers all trusts that have been deliberately created by a settlor (i.e. as opposed to statutory, resulting or constructive trusts); while a UK tax liability for these purposes includes a liability to income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax and/or stamp duty land tax.

As the 41G form did not collect sufficient information to meet the requirements of the new legislation, those trusts which registered with HMRC before the launch of the TRS will also need to use the service to provide all the information that is now required.

Note that if the trustees have not incurred a tax liability either because they have claimed a relief or because the liability falls on the settlor or on a beneficiary, registration on the TRS is not required. This would include the situation where income is mandated directly to an interest in possession beneficiary. Trusts that have no other UK tax liability other than a tax liability of less than £100 on bank or building society interest income are also exempted from the requirement to register.

Registration will not be required if the trust is a bare trust although trustees of bare trusts are nonetheless required to keep accurate and up-to-date written records of the beneficial owners, in the same way that trustees of any other trust type must do.

What is the position for trusts invested wholly in non-income producing assets such as life insurance investment bonds or capital redemption policies?
Trusts that are invested wholly in non-income producing life insurance policies or capital redemption policies will not usually be required to register on the TRS unless and until:
• a chargeable event under the policy arises at a time when the settlor is deceased or non-UK resident;
• there is a chargeable transfer for IHT purposes because funds or assets greater than the settlor’s available nil rate band are added to the trust and the trustees pay the tax; or
• a periodic charge or exit charge arises for IHT purposes.

If a chargeable event arises under the policy while the settlor is alive and UK resident, the tax liability will fall to be assessed on the settlor rather than the trustees and the trust will not therefore be required to register at that time.

Note that the requirement to register and/or update or confirm the information contained in the register only arises if the trust has a tax liability in the given tax year. This means that, in the case of a life policy trust, registration may be necessary in one year (perhaps because a part surrender is made and an excess arises) but the requirement to register or update may not then arise again for several years (i.e. until there is a further chargeable event).

What is the position for trusts that hold property?
Trusts that hold property will, like other trusts, only need to be registered if the trustees incur a liability to tax. Thus, if the property is occupied by a beneficiary – and is not income-producing - no requirement for registration will exist unless a taxable event occurs for IHT, CGT or SDLT purposes. If the trust holds an investment property which generates a rental income, then the trustees will usually need to register the trust on the TRS. The exception will be where the trust is an interest in possession trust where all the trust income is mandated directly to the beneficiary.

What are the deadlines for registration?
The deadline for registration depends on whether the trust is already registered for Self-Assessment (SA) for income tax or capital gains tax:

• If the trust is already registered for income tax or capital gains tax and the trustees of the trust have incurred a relevant UK tax liability in a given tax year, then registration must be completed by no later than 31 January after the end of that tax year;
• If the trust is not registered under SA but has incurred either an income tax or a capital gains tax liability for the first time in a given tax year then registration must be completed by no later than 5 October after the end of that tax year;
• If the trust is not already registered for SA or does not need to register for SA but has incurred either an inheritance tax, stamp duty land tax, stamp duty reserve tax, or a land and buildings transaction tax (Scotland) liability in that tax year, then registration must be completed by no later than 31 January after the end of that tax year.

Penalties will apply if deadlines are not met, however for the first year of the TRS only, HMRC have extended the TRS registration deadline for new trusts and complex estates, that have incurred a liability to income tax or capital gains tax for the first time in the tax year 2016 to 2017, from 5 October 2017 to 5 January 2018; and have extended the deadline for existing trusts from 31 January 2018 until 5 March 2018.

Who is responsible for registering the trust?
The responsibility for registration lies with the trustees although trustees can appoint a lead trustee to complete the registration process or may alternatively appoint an agent to register the trust on their behalf.

Are there any trust registration responsibilities for institutions who provide draft trusts or for advisers who use the draft trusts for their clients?

No. Providers of trust documents and financial advisers have no TRS obligations in relation to the trusts that they provide/advise on. However, advisers will need to ensure that they understand their clients’ reporting obligations under the new regulations and should make their clients aware of those obligations as part of the advice process when recommending trust-based solutions.

What steps must be followed to register a trust on the TRS?
Trustees who are required to register must do so online at Before they can register, they must apply online for an “organisation” Government Gateway account to obtain a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). A separate account is required for each trust even if the settlor and trustees are the same.

What information is required by the TRS?
The TRS will ask for:
• the name of the trust
• the trust address and telephone number
• the date the trust was established
• the country where the trust is resident
• details of the trust assets, including addresses of properties, and an estimated market valuation of assets held at the date that the assets were settled; and
• identity details (i.e. name, address, date of birth and NI (or passport /ID number if no NI) number) of the settlor, trustees, the beneficiaries (or class of beneficiaries where individual beneficiaries have yet to be determined or identified); and any person exercising effective control over the trust, such as a protector or appointor.

Agents acting on behalf of trustees will also be required to provide contact information about themselves, however, no information is required in respect of other advisers who may be providing legal, financial or tax advice to the trustees in relation to the trust.
What needs to be disclosed in relation to beneficiaries?

Under the TRS the trustees will need to disclose to HMRC the identities/names of all beneficiaries who are either actual or potential beneficiaries. Where the beneficiaries of a trust are not named, but there is simply a class of beneficiary, then a description of the class of beneficiaries should be recorded on the TRS. Trustees will however need to disclose the identity of any potential beneficiary who receives a financial or non-financial benefit from the trust after 26 June 2017.

What obligations exist post-first registration?
The trigger point for either first registration or updating details on the register is when the trustees incur a liability to pay any of the relevant UK taxes. So, in tax years where no tax liability arises then the trustees are not required to register or update in that tax year (although if changes have occurred, updates can be made on a voluntary basis if desired). If, however, the trustees have incurred a tax liability in a given year, the trust register will need to be updated to reflect any changes – for example, to trustee, settlor or beneficiary details - by 31 January after the end of the tax year in which the change occurred. Where no relevant changes have taken place since the end of the previous tax year, the update can be limited to confirmation that no such changes have occurred.

Note that the details of trust assets are only provided once at the first point of registration and there is no requirement to update information about the trust assets on the TRS even if these change over time. All other asset information is dealt with on the SA900 tax return, just as it was before TRS was introduced.

Is the information held on the Trust Register in the public domain?
No. The legislation specifies that information held on the TRS can only be shared by HMRC with law enforcement authorities in the UK or in another EEA member state, if requested. These include the Financial Conduct Authority, the National Crime Agency and the Police Service.

Further information
HMRC has produced some guidance on the TRS in the form of a series of Frequently Asked Questions. The latest version of the guidance is currently available in draft form only and can be accessed here. Regular updates on the TRS are published in HMRCs quarterly Trusts and Estates Newsletters. The December Trusts and Estates Newsletter can be accessed here.
The Financial Ombudsman has upheld complaints about the role of an authorised company in selling failed mini-bonds that cost investors millions, offering hope that they may get their money back. Secured Energy Bonds collapsed in early 2015 after taking more than £7m of investors’ cash, intended to fund solar panel installations with an advertised return of 6.5% annually. The investment itself, as with all mini-bonds, was not regulated nor protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The fate of the SEB bond investors is good news for other retail investors who have been lured to mini-bonds by the promise of relatively high returns.