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Tax Responsibilities for Trustees in a Trust

Even though there may be more than one, the trustee is responsible for reporting and paying tax to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on behalf of the trust.

As a result, the 'principal acting trustee' will manage the tax and any other trustees will still be accountable (e.g. may be charged tax and interest).

Reporting Trust Income and Gains to HMRC

You need to use a trust and estate Self Assessment tax return to report the income and gains after the end of each tax year.

But, you have a choice of using (either):

  • Commercial software (to send it electronically by January 31st).
  • The paper version (form SA900) and posting it to HMRC three months earlier (by October 31st).

Note: Another guide explains how to get help with Self Assessment tax returns (e.g. from an accountant or from HM Revenue and Customs).

Submitting Your Tax Returns

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will send you a notification about the amount you owe after you send in your tax return. It is important to pay your Self Assessment tax bill before the deadline to avoid penalties.

Statement of Income from Trust

The trustee(s) must provide a statement (e.g. using form R185) showing the amount of income and tax paid by the trust (if the beneficiary requests it) and give the information to all beneficiaries.

You should use form R185 (Settlor) to notify the settlor about income arising from the trust in which they ‘retain an interest’.

Important: HMRC guidance about trust record keeping for tax purposes explains more about which documents you need to collect and keep (e.g. bank statements).

Making Death Benefit Payments from Pension Schemes

There might be situations where you need to give extra information to the beneficiary (within thirty days), such as when (both):

  • A payment funded by a taxable lump sum from a pension scheme is made.
  • The pension holder has passed away.

Trustees need to use form R185 (Lump Sum Death Benefit) and pension administrators need to use the ‘Pension scheme admin‘ version.

Note: Another section has information about when and how to pay tax if you get money from someone’s pension pot after they die.

Extra Responsibilities for Trustees

Other responsibilities that a trustee needs to carry out will depend on what type of trust you are managing and any relevant instructions noted in the trust deed. As a rule, it will include:

Related Help Guides

Note: Another section explains when you must register a trust with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the deadlines for registering.

Trustee Tax Responsibilities in the United Kingdom