Income tax credits and reliefs following a death

Introduction

Tax credits reduce the amount of tax you have to pay. You can read about how your income tax is calculated for an explanation of how tax credits work. This page explains the tax credits that apply to the income of a deceased person. It also explains the tax credits and reliefs that are available if you are a widowed person or surviving civil partner. You can get more information about other money matters after death.

Budget 2022

It was announced in Budget 2022 that the Widowed Person or Surviving Civil Partner's (without dependent children) Tax Credit will increase by €50 in 2022 to €2,240.

The year of death

Single people

In the year in which they die, a single person has the normal tax credits to which they are entitled for the whole year, January to December. If a refund of tax is due, it can be claimed by the person responsible for finalising the affairs of the deceased.

Unmarried couples are treated as single for tax purposes.

Married couples and civil partners

If your spouse or civil partner dies, the way you are taxed in that year depends on how you were taxed as a couple. You may have been taxed through single assessment, separate assessment or joint assessment. There is more information on these options in taxation of married people and civil partners.

Single assessment

If you were both taxed as single persons then the Widowed Person's or Surviving Civil Partner's Tax Credit (see below) will replace the personal tax credit you had at the start of the year.

Separate assessment

If you and your spouse or civil partner were taxed under separate assessment then the Widowed Person's or Surviving Civil Partner's Tax Credit will replace your personal tax credit. You may also be entitled to unused tax credits that were allocated to your spouse or civil partner.

Joint assessment

If a married couple is jointly assessed for tax, the spouse or civil partner responsible for making tax returns is known as the assessable spouse or nominated civil partner.

You can decide which of you is to be the assessable spouse or nominated civil partner. If no one has been nominated, the assessable person is the spouse or civil partner with the higher income and remains the assessable spouse or nominated civil partner until a decision is made to change this.

If you are the assessable person and your spouse or civil partner dies

You are taxed as follows:

  • You pay tax on your own total income for the full year plus the total income of your spouse to the date of death
  • You are entitled to the full amount of the Married Person or Civil Partner Tax Credit and the Employee (PAYE) Credit (2 Employee Credits if both have enough income taxable under the PAYE system)
  • You may claim other tax credits due to both spouses in that year

If your spouse or civil partner was the assessable person

From 1 January to the date of their death, your spouse or civil partner:

  • Is taxable on their own total income and your total income for this period
  • Is entitled to the full amount of the Married Person or Civil Partner Tax Credit and the Employee Credit (2 Employee (PAYE) Credits if both have enough income taxable under the PAYE system)
  • May claim a proportion of other credits up to date of death
  • Has the tax rate bands that apply to a married couple

From the date of death to the end of the tax year, you:

  • Are assessed on your own income for this period
  • Get the widowed person or surviving civil partner’s tax credit for year of bereavement and the Employee (PAYE) Credit (if taxed on PAYE)
  • May claim tax credits for the period following the death
  • Have the tax rate bands that apply to a single or widowed person

Increased credits in the years after death

This section explains the increased personal tax credits that are available in the years after death if you are a widowed person or a surviving civil partner.

Widowed Person or Surviving Civil Partner’s Tax Credit

If you are a widowed person or a surviving civil partner, you can claim an increased personal tax credit. The amount of the tax credit depends on whether or not you have dependent children and when your spouse or civil partner died.

You are a widowed person or surviving civil partner without dependent children

You will still get the Married Person or Civil Partner's Tax Credit in the year of death. This is €3,300 in 2021.

In the years following the year of death, you will get the Widowed Person or Surviving Civil Partner's (without dependent children) Tax Credit. This is €2,190 in 2021.

You are a widowed person or surviving civil partner with dependent children

You will get the Married Person or Civil Partner's Tax Credit in the year of death. This is €3,300 in 2021.

In the years following the year of death you will get:

  • A Widowed Person or Surviving Civil Partner's (with dependent children) Tax Credit, which is €1,650 in 2021
  • A Single Person Child Carer Credit, which is €1,650 in 2021

For the first five years after the year of death you will also get the Widowed Parent Tax Credit - see below.

You are not considered a widowed person with dependent children for tax purposes if either of the following applies:

  • You are cohabiting with a partner
  • You no longer have dependent children

In these cases you will get the Widowed Person or Surviving Civil Partner's Tax Credit instead.

Widowed Parent Tax Credit

The Widowed Parent Tax Credit is available for five years, beginning in the year after the year of death.

The amount of the tax credit changes each year as follows:

Years after death Tax credit due
First year €3,600
Second year €3,150
Third year €2,700
Fourth year €2,250
Fifth year €1,800

If you are bereaved in 2021 you will not get a Widowed Parent Tax Credit until 2022.

You can only get one tax credit, regardless of how many children you have.

To qualify for the Widowed Parent Tax Credit you must:

  • Not have re-married by the start of the tax year
  • Not be cohabiting with a partner
  • Have a qualifying child living with you for some part of the tax year

A qualifying child must be:

  • Under 18 at the start of the tax year
  • Over 18 but in full-time education or an apprenticeship for a minimum of 2 years
  • Over 18 but became permanently incapacitated when under 21 or in full-time education or training

Your child may be an adopted child, a stepchild or any child that you support and have custody of.

How to apply

Following the death of a spouse, you should contact Revenue to tell them so that they can arrange for you to get the appropriate tax credits. Please remember to have your PPS number to hand in any dealings with Revenue.

You can also claim tax credits online.

Where to apply

You can claim tax credits online using Revenue's PAYE Services which is accessed through Revenue's myAccount.

Lo-call telephone numbers and contact details for Revenue regional offices are available on the Revenue website.

Page edited: 13 October 2021