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. 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

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. There is information on the GOV.UK website which shows how ‘Tell us once’ works, which records it covers and where it is available.

Other ways to notify HMRC

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).

Single claim

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.

Joint claim

Where a claimant dies who was part of a joint claim, the joint claim will end and the surviving partner will need to make a new claim for support.

However, now that universal credit (UC) is available across the UK, HMRC state that it is no longer possible for anyone to make a brand new claim for tax credits and they will need to claim UC (or pension credit) instead. There is more information about claiming UC in our UC section.


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.

Special Cases

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.

There is some information about child bereavement and what to do when someone dies on the GOV.UK website.

Last reviewed/updated 25 April 2022