Technical issue with protected trusts – November 2018 update

Following the changes to the taxation of non-UK domiciled individuals from 6 April 2017, certain offshore trusts enjoy protected status. If you have a settlor interested offshore trust (i.e. where you or certain family members can benefit), you need to take care to preserve this protected status – or face potentially significant tax costs.
 
Protected status brings an important and valuable advantage: the settlor of a protected trust will only be directly taxed on UK source income of the trust. Foreign income and capital gains will only be taxed when benefits are provided to beneficiaries.
 
Further details are on our 11 June announcement here.
 
However, one important item of income – known as ‘offshore income gains’ arising from profits on sales of non-reporting offshore funds – is not currently protected by the new rules.  This is thought to be a result of a drafting error rather than government policy. However, the government seems reluctant to address this issue. They have recently announced that they will not be amending the current legislation to include income arising in offshore non-reporting funds in the foreign trust exemptions at this time. This is an unfavourably result but understandable as the government’s resources are currently stretched on other pressing matters, however, going forwards, HMRC stated that they will continue to monitor this situation and engage further with stakeholders.

A similar issue appears to arise with amounts taxable under the ‘accrued income scheme’ which, broadly, applies to the sale of certain securities with accrued interest. The amounts involved will usually be less significant than for offshore income gains, but trusts may have increased administrative and reporting obligations as a result.
 
The link to the survey for trustees is here and if you wish to read further background, click here.
 
Advisers are encouraged to contact ICAEW Tax Faculty with any comments about the impact on their client base.
 
Please get in touch with your normal adviser for help and advice.

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