The horror of trust statistics…


1 November 2023

By Marc Dorsett

It’s the day after Halloween, you’ve munched through a corner shop worth of sweets (probably on the premise that if you eat them your kids can’t – a selfless act to protect their health), and you’re now on a massive sugar crash. You need something to inject a bit of energy back in to counter the crash…. Well, this won’t help at all. Sorry.

In the middle of October, HMRC published some very uninspiring statistics on trusts in the UK. The link to the report can be found here, but here is a very short summary of some key points. You may need to reach for a coffee and some left over Haribo if you do read the article.

  • 633,000 trusts and estates were registered on the Trust Registration Service (TRS) and were still shown as in operation at the end of August 2023.
  • There were 462,000 registrations in the year ending 31 March 2023.
  • Of this 462,000 (the figures don’t add up, presumably due to rounding);
    • 415,000 were non-taxable trusts,
    • 6,000 were estates and, therefore,
    • 40,000 were taxable trusts.

This snippet clearly shows that non-taxable trusts are making up the majority of the registrations. I imagine that this includes a huge amount of trusts that have been in place for a long time, such as life interest trusts created by the death of a spouse that hold half a property or an equitable charge against property.

The TRS registration is a burden on trustees, particularly for non-taxable trusts that have no income or cash in them. The trustees have the legal responsibility to register the trust but, if there are costs involved, the life tenant is usually going to pay.

The politics of whether TRS is good or bad is moot. It isn’t going anywhere and, if you have a trust, it needs to be registered. This can be completed online or you can have a specialist do it for you.

If you would like help with registration on the Trust Registration Service, or wish to discuss any trust you have, please contact the Private Client team at Gepp Solicitors on 01245 228125 or We can help you with your trust, but not your recently acquired sugar addiction.