Death of a Spouse

Tax and National Insurance

Your income will probably change after the death of your husband, wife or civil partner.
If you get extra money from pensions, annuities, benefits or an inheritance, you may need to pay more tax. You may be on a lower income and need to pay less tax.
Your tax allowances - the income you do not pay tax on - may also change.

Income you must report

Tell HMRC if you get:
  • interest from a bank, building society or a National Savings and Investment product, eg pensioner income, capital bonds
  • income from letting out property
  • income from Purchased Life Annuities
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance or Bereavement Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • foreign pension payments
  • other income that should have been taxed but has not been

You do not need to tell HMRC about:

  • income your employer pays tax on through PAYE
  • income from a private pension
  • income which does not get taxed, eg from an Individual Savings Account (ISA)
  • any income if you’ll reach State Pension age within 4 months
  • getting Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Bereavement Support Payment

How to tell HMRC

Tell HMRC about a change in your income:

Tax allowances

If you pay Income Tax, you’ll have a Personal Allowance - income you do not pay tax on. Your allowance may change if your income changes.
HMRC will automatically adjust your Personal Allowance when you tell them about your change of income.

Married Couple’s Allowance

If you or your husband, wife or civil partner were born before 6 April 1935, you may have been claiming Married Couple’s Allowance. You will still get the allowance for the current tax year (up to 5 April) but HMRC will automatically stop it after that and you will get just your Personal Allowance.

Blind Person’s Allowance

If your husband, wife or civil partner was claiming Blind Person’s Allowance, ask HMRC to transfer what’s left of their Blind Person’s Allowance for the current tax year (up to 5 April) to you.
HMRC Blind Person’s Allowance enquiries
Telephone: 0300 200 3301
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm

Reduced rate National Insurance

If you’re a widow and you were married before April 1977, you might be paying a reduced rate of National Insurance (sometimes called the ‘small stamp’).
You may be able to keep paying the reduced rate. Contact HMRC to find out what you should do.

See also:

For further information: