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Tax returns for trustees

As a trustee you'll have to complete a Trust and Estate Tax Return - form SA900. You might also have to fill in some additional pages, depending on the trust's income and gains.

On this page:

The role of the trustee

Trustees are the legal owners of the assets held in a trust. They are usually responsible for managing the trust on a day-to-day basis, completing tax returns and paying any tax due on income and gains.

Find out more about trustee tax responsibilities


Getting professional help for your trust

Completing a Trust and Estate Return can be difficult. You might like to get professional advice from a tax adviser or solicitor to help complete the return and to help run the trust. Members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) are experts who can give you help with any trusts related problem.

Find a trusts expert on the STEP website (Opens new window)

Find a solicitor on the Law Society website (Opens new window)

Find a tax adviser at the Chartered Institute of Taxation website (Opens new window)

Find a chartered accountant on the ICAEW website (Opens new window)


Registering as a trustee

When you first become a trustee for a trust that is expected to pay Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax you'll need to tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about the trust. Fill in form 41G (Trust) Trust Details and send it to the HMRC Trusts Office.

Read form 41G (Trust) Trust Details

HMRC Trusts Helpline


Tax rules on different types of trust

There are many different types of trust. The tax rules are different depending on what type of trust you're responsible for. For example your trust may be set up:

  • under the terms of a will for family members
  • for a vulnerable person
  • for someone who may receive the income only for their lifetime
  • to be administered overseas

Read more about types of trust and tax implications


Completing a Trustee Self Assessment tax return

In April or May each year, HMRC will normally send you a letter telling you that you need to complete a tax return. If you usually complete a Trust and Estate Tax Return (SA 900) and you haven't received a letter by the end of April, you should get in touch with HMRC.

You'll need to complete the Trust and Estate Tax Return - form SA900 - for every tax year as long as the trust exists. Depending on the type of income and gains of the trust you may have to also complete some additional pages. For example:

  • land and property pages to report rents received
  • foreign income pages for overseas income or gains

Completing the Trust and Estate Tax Return


Completing the Trust and Estate Tax Return online

You can complete and send a Trust and Estate Tax Return online using commercial software.

Sending a tax return online has many advantages - for example the deadline is later and your tax is worked out automatically.

You'll need to register for HMRC Online Services if you want to submit the Trust and Estate Tax Return online.

File your tax return online - find out more about the benefits and how to register

The different ways you can file your tax return online


Record keeping

You'll have to keep records of the income and gains of the trust, trust expenses and income payments to beneficiaries so that you can complete the Trust and Estate return.

Record keeping for trustees


Self Assessment return deadlines

If you send in a paper tax return, it must reach HMRC by midnight on 31 October following the end of the tax year it relates to.

If you send it online, you have three months longer - it must reach HMRC by midnight on 31 January instead.

You'll be charged a penalty if the tax return isn't received on time.

There are a few exceptions to the above dates, for example if you receive your tax return late - follow the link below to find out more.

Tax return deadlines and penalties


When a trust comes to an end

You'll need to tell HMRC when all the trust assets such as money, shares and property have been paid out and the trust comes to an end. You'll usually have to complete a Trust and Estate Return from the end of the last tax year to the date the trust came to an end. There may be tax to pay for this period so you'll need to keep back enough of the trust funds to pay it.

HMRC Trusts Helpline