The Trust and Estate Tax Return: paper or online

You can submit a Trust and Estate Tax Return online, or you can complete a paper form if you prefer. If you file online the deadlines are more generous than if you send a paper return. However, you'll need to buy commercial software and register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) online services.

Submitting your Trust and Estate Tax Return online

If you want to submit a tax return online, you’ll need to buy commercial software. There are a number of software providers that have software that is compatible with HMRC's systems.

The link below will take you to a list of commercial providers. You'll need to click on each provider's link to find out whether they cover the trusts online form (SA900) and supplementary pages.

Once you’ve submitted an online return you'll receive a reminder each year to file online. This means you won't be sent the tax return guide or tax calculation guide each year - but you can download them from the HMRC website.

Self Assessment software from commercial suppliers

Form SA900 Trust and Estate Tax Return

Top

Advantages of filing a Trust and Estate Tax Return online

There are advantages to filing a tax return online:

  • it's safe and secure
  • you get an immediate acknowledgement
  • depending on which supplier's software you opt for, your tax may be worked out automatically so you know what you owe or are owed straight away
  • the deadline for online returns is 31 January - three months more than for paper returns, which is 31 October

And as with paper returns:

  • HMRC will calculate the tax for you, if you submit your online return by 31 October
  • you can monitor your Self Assessment 'account' online - this includes statements of your payment history and what you currently owe or are owed (see 'Filing a paper Trust and Estate Tax Return' below)

Top

Registering to submit a Trust and Estate Tax Return online

Before you can submit your tax return online, you need to register and enrol with HMRC's Online Services. You'll need your postcode and your ten-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR), which you can find on your tax return or Self Assessment Statement. You'll have to wait for an Activation PIN to arrive in the post, so allow at least seven days to complete the registration process.

The link below will take you to more information on how to register to submit a Self Assessment tax return online. For trusts you'll be asked to select the option for 'Organisation' at the point of registration.

Understanding and using Self Assessment Online

Top

Filing a paper Trust and Estate Tax Return

You’ll be sent a SA316 (notice to file) at the end of the tax year in which you first notify HMRC that a trust has been set up. Unless you register to file online a paper return will be sent to you soon after 5 April each year.

HMRC may also send you a step-by-step guide (SA950) to help you complete the paper return, and a calculation guide (SA951) to help you calculate the tax due if you wish to do the calculation yourself. If you’ve appointed a professional representative to act on behalf of the trust, HMRC will not send you these guides. However, you can still download them from the HMRC website.

You can track your Self Assessment 'account' online even if you submit a paper tax return - this includes statements of your payment history and what you currently owe or are owed. The account must be set up in the name of the 'principal acting trustee' (the trustee nominated to deal with HMRC on behalf of all the trustees) or the professional representative acting for the trust. Once registered, you can view your account in the online services section of the HMRC website.

HMRC online services

Find out how to view your Self Assessment Statement online

Download forms and guidance for the Trust and Estate Tax Return

Top

Deadline for sending in your Trust and Estate Tax Return

Once you’ve completed the paper tax return you must send it to HMRC Trusts & Estates. The address is on the front of the return.

The deadlines for submitting both paper tax returns and online tax returns are set out in the table below. If you want HMRC to calculate the tax for you, you must send it in by the 31 October deadline.

Type of return Deadline
Paper 31 October
Online: HMRC calculating 31 October
Online: self-calculating 31 January

In each instance the deadline is following the end of the tax year to which it relates.

If you miss the deadline, penalties will be charged even if you have no tax to pay or have paid the tax you owe.

Tax return deadlines and penalties

If you don't have a tax return or you lose it

If you don't have a tax return and you need one, contact HMRC Trusts & Estates. If the request is for an original tax return, this will be sent to the person who is responsible for the trust's tax affairs.

If you've lost your tax return, HMRC Trusts & Estates can send a copy to either the principal acting trustee or the professional representative acting for the trust. However, this will carry the original date of issue, and be subject to the original filing dates.

Contact HMRC Trusts & Estates

If you want to switch from paper to online filing

You can still submit your tax return online even if you’ve been sent a paper return to complete. Once you’ve sent an online tax return you'll receive a reminder to file rather than a paper return the following year.

How to fill in the Trust and Estate Tax Return

Top

Get professional help for your trust

Understanding trusts can be difficult so you may want to work with a solicitor or tax adviser. Remember though that the trustee is still legally responsible for the trust's tax affairs. You'll find some links below to professional organisations - although not all professionals are registered with them.

If you want HMRC to communicate with your agent or professional representative on Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax matters, you'll need to fill in form 64-8. Follow the link below to find out more about completing form 64-8.

If you want HMRC to communicate with your agent or professional representative on Inheritance Tax issues you'll need to enter their details on form IHT100.

Find a solicitor on the Law Society of England and Wales website (Opens new window)

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

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

Get help from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners - STEP website (Opens new window)

Find out more about completing form 64-8

Top