Tax Credits: Bereavement
When a tax credit claimant dies, or a child who is included in a tax credit claim dies, this is a change of circumstances which must be notified to HMRC within 1 month. This has been temporarily extended to 3 months from 23rd May 2020 for critical workers due to the coronavirus pandemic. Notification of a death can be done using the ‘Tell us once’ service, where it is available. There is more information about reporting changes for tax credits in our section called Changes which must be reported to HMRC.
In this section we outline what happens with a tax credit claim when someone included in the claim dies.
- Tell us once service
- Other ways to notify HMRC
- Single claim
- Joint claim
- Children included in a claim
- Special cases
Tell us once is a Government service which links up a notification of death across many different Government records so that the person notifying the death doesn’t have to notify each different area separately. The service isn’t available right across the UK or in Northern Ireland. There is information on the GOV.UK website which shows how ‘Tell us once’ works, which records it covers and where it is available.
As well as the ‘Tell us once’ service, bereavement can be notified to HMRC using any of their standard routes, on-line, by telephone or in writing. See our How to notify changes page.
Even if not using the ‘Tell us once’ service, it is possible to ask HMRC to record the notification of death on all their records relating to the person. We recommend always to make a note of the notification and keep a record either or the letter (if writing), date and time of the call (if phoning) or an electronic copy of the notification (if using HMRC’s on-line service).
When a tax credit claimant who has made a single claim dies, the death must be notified to HMRC, either directly or via the ‘Tell us once’ service.
HMRC will end the claim.
Where a claimant dies who was part of a joint claim, the joint claim will end and the surviving partner will need to re-claim to continue to receive tax credits.
However, now that universal credit (UC) is available across the UK, most people can no longer make a brand new claim for tax credits and will need to claim UC (or pension credit) instead. There is more information about claiming UC in our UC section.
If the surviving partner is entitled to make a fresh tax credit claim, it is important that they take care to check what income, (and capital, if they need to claim UC) must be included, particularly in light of any monies paid out of the deceased estate or related changes to pensions and bereavement payments.
Where a child or qualifying young person included in a claim dies, any child tax credit for them continues for 8 weeks from the date of death or, until the young person would have reached age 20 if that date is sooner.
It is important to bear in mind that entitlement to WTC can be affected if there is no other child or qualifying young person included in the claim and the claimant does not work more than 16 hours a week (or jointly 24 hours a week in a joint claim). See our WTC section for more information.
If is also important to check whether any other changes to the tax credit claim should be notified to HMRC as a result of the bereavement, for example any changes to childcare costs.
HMRC have confirmed that, in a case where there is another child included in the claim but for whom a child element is not included due to the 2-child limit, HMRC will re-assess whether a child element should become payable for that child as a result of the bereavement notification.
If a person dies either before they claimed or before HMRC have made an outstanding decision on their claim, HMRC can continue to continue to deal with the claim, in limited circumstances, to ensure entitlement is properly calculated up to the date of bereavement. There is more information about this in HMRCs technical manual, TCTM06108.
Last reviewed/updated 26 May 2020