No sooner was the ink dry on our last news item than we were informed that the trust registration service was live. Details of the registration can be found on GOV.UK. The first stage is to set up an Agent Services Account which is very simple and almost instantaneous for a sole practitioner but may be more problematic for a larger firm.
Armed with the new sign on details it is possible to access the service and register a trust, absolutely none of the information already held by HMRC has been used to populate the form. We accept that the form 41G did not have all the information required by the trust register but what was wrong with importing what was available and leaving agents to add the rest?
Our own testing has shown that it is not possible to use a data processor to input the information held on the tax software, for example, with the practitioner adding the extra information, such as the date the trust was created, later. To progress to the next screen all the boxes have to be completed first.
It is not clear when asked for contact details in the register, if these are the trustees’ details or the agents. Trustees will not want to answer queries from HMRC which is why they have engaged an agent, so presumably it is the agent telephone number that is required but that has already been given. We have asked HMRC for clarification.
When asking for the date of the settlement, there is no allowance for deeds of variation where the start date could be the date of death or the date of the deed, depending on which tax is being considered.
We have previously asked HMRC for a flow chart detailing everything required to complete the registration and population task and the alternatives at each stage, but that has not been forthcoming. The FAQ prepared by HMRC and published with our news item is probably the best place to go to produce your own flowchart and then you can collate all the information required for each trust.
When moving from registering one trust to the next it is necessary to enter the agent details all over again, reference number, name of agent, telephone number, address before moving on to the details of the trust. It asks for the “Agent Client Reference” which we can only assume is the reference given on registering for the Agent Services Account when it was called “Your Gateway Agent ID”.
As a conservative estimate it will take in excess of 3 hours, plus waiting time, to collect information from trustees and beneficiaries to complete each registration. As practitioners have nothing else to do between now and 31 January 2018, it should just about be doable!
Still awaiting a reply from HMRC to my request for access to Agent Services, submitted 3 weeks ago. On telephoning to chase it up, I am told that the responsible department is "overrun" with applications and enquiries and is very much behind in dealing with matters. They cannot say how long it will be before I get a reply. I was even told to be patient, because there was plenty of time before the deadline on 5 December!
I'm an agent now living outside the UK (but with UK clients) and HMRC have said that because I have a non-UK business address, I cannot open a new Agent Services Account "until 2018/19". I am not therefore sure how I can register an existing UK trust on TRS by 31 January 2018!
When I was attempting to register a new trust using the main TRS page, I clicked on the link to do so as an agent which then took me to the usual HMRC login screen. I then used our existing agent login credentials, which logged me in but rather than the usual opening page I was met with one headed Request Access To Agent Services and the following message "Before you can sign up for the new Agent Services account you must request access. It may take a little time to respond to all requests, but we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, 'request access for Agent Services' " So if I have done everything correctly, the service is not live for agents. I sent the email as prompted on Friday and have yet to receive even an acknowledgement and with the impending January Self-Assessment Tax Return deadline further obstacles like this are not welcomed!
I give up with this - it's a disaster. I filled in the screens "Registration of a trust for agents" > "Agent Detail" > "UK Address" > "Trust Registration Service" > (Register an existing trust) > "Existing Trust - First Time Authentication" and it then sent mne to my original screen ""Request access to Agent Services", where it tells me that if I want to sign up I must request access.
Requested permission to register and after over 2 weeks got the response from HMRC with instrusctions and the linke to register. Impossible to use - beeen trying since last Thursday - all I get is the message "There is no agent business linked to this account" after putting in our UTR and postcode. Call Trusts and they could not help. Online Services have now escalated, but this is pathetic!