Bereavement and tax
Welcome to the 'bereavement and tax section' of our website. In this section we look at the duties you may have to perform as an executor or personal representative, as well as the various tax and benefits consequences that can arise on death. We also consider the tax effects of the death of your spouse or civil partner.
Unfortunately neither death nor taxes can be avoided forever. If you are lucky, your tax affairs will often fall into a regular and understandable pattern for long periods throughout your life. But then a life event happens which throws your tax world into confusion or means you have to make decisions, often without adequate information.
Death is one of those life events – it not only has to be dealt with in tax terms for the person who has died, but the effects of that death can significantly change the lives of others.
What information and help can I find in this section?
In this section, we provide information and help to assist you if you find that you have to act as an executor or personal representative. We also aim to help you understand the tax position for someone who has died and their survivors.
In particular, we provide information on the following areas of bereavement and taxation:
- How do I notify a death?
- What if I am an executor or personal representative?
- Death of a spouse or civil partner
- Tax and writing a will
- What is inheritance tax?
- How do I assess an estate for inheritance tax purposes?
- How do I work out the inheritance tax due on an estate?
- What is the nil rate band?
- How is an estate taxed during administration?
- What is ‘winding up’ the estate?
- What is the effect of death on state benefits and credits?
Where can I get more help?
If you have been bereaved and live in England or Wales, you can contact your council to find out about resources to support you at this time. You can find details on how to do this on the GOV.UK website. If you live in Scotland, you should visit the Scottish Government website to locate resources. If you live in Northern Ireland, visit the website nidirect to locate sources of support.
The GOV.UK website has a section dedicated to death and bereavement, which covers a broad range of topics, including wills, tax and state benefits.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) manage the UK tax system. For help with tax after someone dies you will find contact details for the Bereavement helpline on the GOV.UK website. If you do not agree with a decision of HMRC, find out what action you can take on our ‘tax appeals' page. If you are unhappy with the way in which you have been treated by HMRC, you may be able to make a complaint.
If you think you may have made a gain on a capital asset, visit our section on capital gains tax.
You can find out where to get help from third party organisations in our 'getting help section'.