As the UK's Trust Registration Service is now live, Gordon Andrews, tax and trusts expert at Quilter International has issued a timely reminder of the penalties and fines that advisers could potentially face.

"The government's new Trust Registration Service is now live, which means the clock is ticking for millions of trustees to register details of their trust before 1 September 2022. Those failing to do so risk a fine, with potentially larger penalties where the government deem the behaviour to be deliberate", he said.

"The Service was originally announced in a limited form back in 2017, previously only applicable to ‘taxable relevant trusts'. It has since been expanded to an estimated two million trusts, including all UK-resident express trusts, with a few exemptions including pension trusts and charitable trusts.

"While the register is a potential administrative headache, trustees will be reassured to know that it is not public and the information on each trust will remain confidential. Many trusts play a significant role in estate planning for sensitive and complex family financial situations, requiring considerable care and tact.

Andrews added: "All trusts in scope will need to provide details on trustees, settlors, protectors and beneficiaries, including the nature and extent of the beneficiary's beneficial interest and mental capacity at the time of registration. Trusts will need to be registered by 1 September 2022 or 90 days from the trust creation, which ever is later.

"From 10 March 2022, trusts will also need to provide evidence of registration when entering into a new business relationship with an entity covered under 5MLD rules including UK-based banks and investment platforms. This could be a significant change for any financial advisers dealing with new trust clients or assisting clients with creating new trusts.

"The trust register is a response to the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD). 5MLD is an EU directive for tackling money laundering and terrorist financing and the UK has committed to applying the directive, regardless of the exit from the EU."