Widowed Person or Surviving Civil Partner
- Main tax exemptions and tax credits for a widowed person or a surviving civil partner
- Surviving spouse or civil partner exemption from Inheritance Tax
- Income Tax for the year in which your spouse or civil partner has died
- Additional tax credit for surviving spouse or civil partner with a qualifying child
- Tax Credits and Rates
- Further information
For information on final income tax liability, see Deceased Persons - Final Liability.
This section gives an outline of the main tax exemptions and reliefs specifically for a widowed person or surviving civil partner.
In summary these are:
- a total exemption from Inheritance tax for benefits taken by the surviving spouse or civil partner;
- tax credits that apply for the year of death;
- if you have dependent children, an additional widowed person or surviving civil partner with dependent children tax credit available for the 5 tax years bereavement
These are explained in more detail below.
If you take an inheritance from your late spouse or civil partner you do not have to pay Inheritance tax on that inheritance. The exemption is unlimited - it does not matter how much you inherit, it is entirely exempt. There is no necessity to claim this exemption and you do not have to fill in any Inheritance tax forms.
Your income tax treatment for the tax year in which your spouse has died will depend on how you and your spouse or civil partner were taxed before your bereavement. Revenue will help you to do the calculations and make sure you have the right tax credits. Broadly, the position is as follows:
- if your late spouse was the ’assessable spouse‘, i.e. the person responsible for making a joint tax return on behalf of both of you, you will be entitled to the increased basic personal tax credit from the date of your spouse's or civil partner’s death up to the end of the tax year. The single individual’s rate band will apply for this period.
- if you were the ’assessable spouse or other civil partner, you will continue to receive the married person or civil partner tax credit and appropriate rate band for the remainder of the tax year. You will be taxed on your own income for the full tax year plus your late spouse's or civil partner’s income from 1 January to the date of his or her death.
- if you were both taxed as single persons, i.e under Separate Treatment, you will get the increased widowed person or surviving civil partner tax credit and income tax rate band.
If you have any dependent child(ren) you may be entitled to the widowed person or surviving civil partner with dependent child tax credit for the 5 years after the year of bereavement. You may also be entitled to the Single Person Child Carer Credit for as long as you have any dependent child(ren).
Remember, let your Revenue office know of your spouse's or civil partner’s death as soon as you can.
To bring your tax affairs up to date you will be asked to provide certain information - including the date of death, your late spouse's or civil partner’s PPS number, and the name of the personal representative.
Revenue will ensure that you are granted your proper tax credits. To do this they will want to know if you have any dependent children, and if you will be receiving a pension (either from the Department of Social Protection or from your late spouse's or civil partner’s employer).