Trading income

Produced by Tolley

The following Trusts and Inheritance Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Trading income
  • Trading income for trusts
  • Is there a trade?
  • Notification of a trade
  • Calculation of trading profits
  • Basis of assessment
  • Trading losses
  • Reporting

Trading income

Trading income for trusts

Trustees may be required to run a family business for the benefit of others, or they may decide to invest the trust fund in a business activity. In most cases, such a business will be in the form of a company in which the trustees hold shares so that the trust income arising from it will be in the form of dividends or interest. However, it is possible for trustees to be in receipt of income from an unincorporated business which they own. Some of the situations which might arise are:

  1. a deceased testator leaves his professional practice on trust to provide an income for his spouse. See Example 1

  2. a trust is created for the farming activities and other commercial interests of a complex landed estate. See Example 2

  3. trustees with residential property holdings may decide that the best way of maximising the fund for beneficiaries is to engage in property development. See Example 3

The trading activity need not be long term or substantial. It could amount to nothing more than the maintenance of an enterprise whilst arranging a disposal. Nevertheless, trustees must declare and pay tax on all trading income. The £1,000 tax-free trading allowance which is available to individuals is not available to trustees. See the Trading allowance guidance note in the Personal Tax module.

See Example 4.

The same general tax principles of trading apply to all traders, whether they are individuals, trustees or personal representatives. It is a big topic and the rules are dealt with in detail in the Owner-Managed Businesses (OMB) and Personal Tax (PT) modules. This guidance note summarises the general principles and provides links to more detailed material. In addition, it highlights particular aspects which are relevant to trusts.

Is there a trade?

The most fundamental point to consider is whether there is a trade.

For instance, trustees who purchase a property to renovate may be considered to be running a property development business, depending

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