Trust Registration Service and Unincorporated Sports Clubs and Associations

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As the deadline for trusts to register with the Trust Registration Service approaches, our tax advisor, Richard Baldwin MBE, has provided an overview of the current Anti-Money Laundering Regulations and the implications for sports clubs and organisations.

Richard’s helpful summary will provide information about what different organisations need to do before 1 September 2022.

Background

Under Anti-Money Laundering Regulations introduced in 2020, express trusts are required to register with the Trust Registration Service (TRS) even if they are inactive. Certain trusts which are not taxable are excluded from this requirement.

The deadline for registrations for non-taxable trusts which are not exempt and were in existence on 6 October 2020, is 1 September 2022. Other newly created trusts will have until then or 90 days after creation if later to register.

Impact on unincorporated sports organisations

Unincorporated associations such as sports clubs have no separate legal capacity, so their property e.g. freehold or leasehold property must be held by individuals or by a legal entity on their behalf

Often within sport the property is held by those club or association members willing to act as trustees. This arrangement is usually evidenced by a formal trust document.

Some national governing bodies of sport provide model documents for the establishment of these “bare trusts”. The question arises as to whether these bare trusts are required to register with TRS following the 2020 Regulations.

Consideration of this issue

Because of the potential implications for unincorporated associations, including those in sport, guidance has been sought from the HMRC Trust Policy Team responsible for TRS.

HMRC has confirmed that there is no exclusion for bare trusts which should be registered unless one of the exclusions in the regulations applies.

These exclusions have been considered in some detail by advisers and HMRC; the latter’s view is that no exclusions are likely to be available except for charities. HMRC have specifically confirmed that there is no exclusion for clubs registered as Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC’s).

Implications for clubs

Those unincorporated members’ clubs which have their property held in the name of trustees should take action now and review the requirement to register with TRS. This might also provide a good opportunity to review the documentation supporting the trust arrangements and to ensure it is up to date.

In view of the deadline of 1 September 2022, unincorporated clubs and associations (such as Regional and County Associations in specific sports) should review their position now.

Action is required firstly, to register with TRS providing the appropriate information including details of the current trustees, and secondly, to keep that information up to date.

The information required to register is quite extensive including details of the lead trustee and all other trustees. For example, changes in trustees or their details must be completed online within 90 days using TRS. There are penalties for non-compliance.

Further details of what is required can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/manage-your-trusts-registration-service 

If you have any questions, please direct them to our policy team at policy@sportandrecreation.org.uk.