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Trusts are liable to income tax on income and CGT on gains for each tax year. The trustees are responsible for filing self-assessment tax returns by the normal date (31 January 2012 for 2010/11) and paying the tax on the normal dates (payments on account of income tax on 31 January and 31 July 2011, and the balance of income tax and the whole of the CGT on 31 January 2012).

The tax rates applicable to trusts are:
  Life interest Discretionary
Rate on dividend income 10% 42.5%
Rate on other income 20% 50%
Rate on capital gains 18% 18%
CGT annual exemption £5,050 £5,050
Discretionary trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries (such as disabled people) can pay tax at the lower rates if an election is made. Discretionary trusts pay tax at the lower rates on income up to £1,000.

Beneficiaries of life interest trusts are treated as entitled to the income of the trustees, and pay tax on it in the year it arises to the trust, with a credit for tax paid by the trustees. Beneficiaries of discretionary trusts pay tax on income distributed to them by the trustees, which is treated as paid with a tax credit equal to the cash received. If the tax credit on either type of trust exceeds the beneficiary's tax liability, the excess can normally be reclaimed by the beneficiary (unless credits on dividends in life interest trust).

The CGT annual exemption is divided between trusts established by the same settlor since 1978, to a minimum of £1,010.

Trusts are also liable to pay inheritance tax in a variety of circumstances, and trustees should make sure that they have appropriate professional advice to enable them to fulfil all their legal and fiscal responsibilities. In particular, the IHT treatment of trusts is complex and has changed significantly in recent years. Trustees should make sure they are aware of the effect on them.


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Directors:  Paul Cutter FCA | Kate Jones FCCA, ACA | Dave Hazlehurst FCCA, CTA

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3 Lyttleton Court | Birmingham Street | Halesowen | West Midlands | B63 3HN

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