HMRC To Widen Exemptions For Small Trusts And Estates

HMRC has proposed to widen the legislation that will keep small trusts and estates from paying tax via self-assessment. However, any benefits for trusts may be offset by the latest Trust Registration Service (TRS) requirements ...

Since we had a shakeup of taxation of interest and dividends a number of years ago, a consequence for small estates and trust was that they found themselves needing to complete tax returns as tax liabilities were not collected at source.

This meant HMRC introduced a limited, non-statutory exemption for trusts and estates with an income tax liability less than £100 from interest!

HMRC has been consulting on legislation to broaden this arrangement to increase this to a de minimis amount of bank interest, dividends and land and property income. This will be useful for small total receipts. The de minimis amount has yet to be confirmed, but I believe it will be around the £500 mark, so as long as you keep an eye on it over time, this will be very beneficial.

For straightforward estates of the main residence and some modest savings or investment, it is likely to be quite beneficial, though the proposals do have a cliff edge, where breaching the de minimis threshold means tax is due on the full £500+ even if it's just £1. It is still much easier to understand.

There won't be many low-income trusts that can benefit from these changes, but even if that is the case, converting non-statutory concessions into legislation will provide certainty.

However, there is a greater concern with the looming deadline for TRS registrations. Originally, only trusts that paid certain taxes needed to be registered, however, trusts that didn't pay tax as they only had a liability of less than £100 on interest may now be included.

"Was your trust in existence on the 6th of October 2020?"

If so, it needs to be on the register by the 1st of September 2022 unless it is covered by one of the many complex exclusions. It is onerous to decide if you need to register, so I'm happy to advise if you need to understand the best way forward.

If you'd like to find out more about anything I've written here, do call me on 01908 774323 or leave a comment below and let's see how I can help you.