The new online Trusts Registration Service, developed in response to European anti-money laundering rules, was launched in July this year.
It initially required that all trusts and complex estates with a tax liability be registered by 5 October in the tax year after the trust was established.
In September, HMRC gave a two-month extension, to December 5 2017, following complaints the original date did not give enough time.
Rebecca Goldring, manager at Blick Rothenberg, said the register was another example of how increasingly complicated the UK tax system has become.
“In the last few years, we have been flooded with legislation and directives imposing reporting obligations on trustees,” Goldring said.
“There was the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, shortly followed by the Common Reporting Standard, and now we find ourselves in the midst of the Beneficial Trust Register, which appears unbelievably onerous and a big brother attempt,” she said.
She said it is important to pay attention to the requirements to stay ahead of the game as non-compliance may lead to fines and prosecution.
The register will be held by HM Revenue & Customs and contain information pertaining to trusts, their assets and their beneficiaries. It will not be open to the public and will only be available to law enforcement bodies and the UK Financial Intelligence Unit.
Goldring said while some of the information to be reported is expected, there are other areas that are extremely onerous and wide-reaching.
“It is when you start to look at the information that is required for the settlor, trustees, and beneficiaries that the reporting criteria appear unbelievably burdensome,” she said.
“Trustees are urged to check that all beneficial owners and potential beneficiaries have been identified, obtain any missing information and keep this stored on a central system. They must also keep HMRC updated of any changes,” she said.