HMRC sets sights on tax planning trusts with new register

HM Revenue & Customs is planning a new beneficial ownership register for trusts as part of a European-wide crackdown on money-laundering and tax avoidance.

Those that set up trusts to “generate tax consequences” will now need to join a beneficial ownership register according to guidelines published by HMRC earlier today.

Trustees must register new express trusts with it by 5 October, and by 31 January 2018 for existing trusts.

The trusts register will sit alongside the UK’s existing company beneficial ownership register, HMRC said in its guidelines.

UK government regulations are part of its obligations to implement the European Union’s Fourth Money Laundering Directive that came into effect on 26 June. The directive is focussing on what it calls “high-risk businesses”, operating in jurisdictions that have weak anti-money laundering systems.

As reported, earlier this year, a public beneficial ownership register of overseas companies that own UK property was being implemented, prior to the recent General Election.

As reported, Jersey and other crown dependencies opposed the moves citing concerns that the information should not be allowed to be freely available.

Terrorist financing threats

The new rules are part of wider anti-money laundering moves designed to curb financing of terror groups and make the UK a “hostile environment for illicit finance”.

Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “Terrorist financing and money laundering are a significant threat to our national security, and we are determined to make the UK a hostile environment for illicit finance.

“These new rules will tighten our defences, protect the integrity of our financial system and help protect the British public from terror attacks and criminal activities.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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