TCSP services/HMRC TCSP register

The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLR 2017) require HMRC to maintain a register of all relevant persons who are trust or company services providers (TCSPs) that are not already registered with the FCA. 

Firms (including sole practitioners) which are TCSPs and are not on the register may be subject to disciplinary action by the IFA and/or criminal or civil penalties by HMRC.

In order to maintain the TCSP register, HMRC has requested the IFA (along with the other professional body supervisors) notify HMRC of all the firms that we supervise that perform TCSP work.  

The IFA will be adding relevant firm details to HMRC’s TCSP register from information included in your latest annual firm return. The IFA will send HMRC details of the name and registered address of the firm and confirmation that the firm is ‘fit and proper’.  

The TCSP register will be made accessible to law enforcement agencies on request and to the extent permitted by the regulations. Details from the TCSP register may also be given in response to requests from other UK or overseas supervisors or other authorities to the extent permitted under the MLRs. 

Please note that IFA is your AML supervisor and you don’t need to separately register with HMRC. We will pass your details to HMRC as they must maintain the TCSP register.

What is TCSP work?

Under the MLR 2017, a trust or company service provider (TCSP) is any firm or sole practitioner whose business is to: 

  • form companies or other legal persons
  • act, or arrange for another person to act, as a director or secretary of a company
  • act, or arrange for another person to act, as a partner (or in a similar position) for other legal persons
  • provide a registered office, business address, correspondence address or administrative address for a company, partnership, or other legal person or arrangement
  • act, or arrange for another person to act, as a trustee of an express trust or similar legal arrangement
  • act, or arrange for another person to act, as a nominee shareholder for another person, unless the other person is a company listed on a regulated market which is subject to acceptable disclosure requirements.

A person is still considered to be a TCSP provider even if these services are provided incidentally to other accountancy services, or they are provided infrequently or on a one-off basis. 

Types of business that should be on HMRC’s TCSP Register

You will have to register as a trust or company service provider if your business includes:

  • company formation agents
  • providing registered offices, business addresses, accommodation, correspondence addresses or mail forwarding services to businesses (other than those run by sole proprietors)
  • any individual or company:
    • providing nominee director services, nominee company secretary services, nominee shareholder services or other similar services
    • arranging for another person to act as a director, company secretary, partner or professional trustee
    • offering professional trustee services (unless they relate to certain low-risk trusts)
    • providing their services as nominee shareholder (unless they’re acting for a company whose securities are listed on a regulated market)
  • any company providing their services as a company director, company secretary or partner to another company (unless the other company is a member of the same group)
  • any individual providing their services as a:
    • nominee director or nominee company secretary
    • company director, company secretary or partner to certain high-risk businesses.

Types of businesses that do not have to be on HMRC’s TCSP register

You do not have to be on HRMC’s TCSP register if you are:  

  • a company providing its services as a company director, company secretary or partner to another company which is a member of the same group
  • an individual or company offering professional trustee services to certain low-risk trusts
  • a firm or sole practitioner that introduces customers to different firms or sole practitioners that provide a trust or company service provider service and has no further contact with an introduced customer
  • a recruitment and employment agency that only offers the normal business services of employment agencies in connection with the appointment of a company director, company secretary, partner or professional trustee
  • a business that only rents out office premises or grants a right to occupy physical office space
  • a will writer.

Carrying out an activity 'by way of business'

In most cases you’ll know whether you’re carrying out a relevant activity by way of business but there may be some circumstances where you might not be sure. You don’t need to consider this any further if you already know that you’re in business.

If you’re unsure, you’ll need to consider if you:

  • undertake one or more of the activities of a Trust or Company Service Provider
  • advertise or publicise your business activity, or receive referrals from other businesses
  • aim to make a profit when you carry out this activity
  • carry out the activity with reasonable or recognisable continuity.

If you do all of these things, then you are carrying out the activity by way of business and you need to register with HMRC.

If you don’t do any of these things, then you aren’t carrying out the activity by way of business and you don’t need to be included in HMRC's TCSP Register. 

If you do some but not all of these things, and you’re still not sure, you can contact HMRC by email or in writing for guidance, letting them know which activities do and don’t apply to you.

Further information on HMRC’s definition of TCSP is available on HMRC’s website.

Updates to HMRC’s TCSP Register 

If the firm has answered ‘no’ to TCSP work in the latest annual firm return and you want to be included in HMRC’s TCSP register, please email compliance@ifa.org.uk with your firm name and firm number and the IFA will forward the relevant information to HMRC to update the register.

If you no longer want to be included in HMRC’s TCSP Register, please email compliance@ifa.org.uk