Capital Gains Tax and trusts

A trust is an obligation that binds a trustee, an individual or a company, to deal with the assets – such as land, money and shares – held by the trust. The person who places assets into a trust is known as a settlor and the trust is for the benefit of one or more 'beneficiaries'.

The trustees make decisions about the assets in the trust. These assets are to be managed, transferred or held back for the future use of the beneficiaries. Trustees are also responsible for reporting and paying tax on behalf of the trust. A trust needs to be registered with HMRC if it pays or owes tax. CGT may be payable when assets are placed into or taken out of a trust.

If assets are placed into a trust, tax is paid by either the person selling the asset to the trust or the person transferring the asset (the 'settlor').

If assets are taken out of a trust, the trustees usually have to pay tax if they sell or transfer assets on behalf of the beneficiary. However, the rules are complex and there are different types of trusts that need to be considered, for example, bare trusts or non-UK resident trusts.

Most trusts have an annual exemption from CGT, currently £3,000 (2022-23: £6,150). There is a higher limit of £6,000 if the beneficiary is vulnerable, a disabled person or a child whose parent has died.

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