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Filing a Tax Return for Someone who Died

There may be situations where you need to file a tax return for someone who passed away. This guide explains the process for reporting and filing taxes for a deceased person.

TAX RETURN AFTER DEATH: Do you deal with the tax affairs of someone who died? If so, you have to report the death to HM Revenue and Customs.

Even though it may be a difficult and sad time, HMRC will need to know as soon as possible.

Once you contact HMRC they will inform you of the next step. They will tell you whether to complete a Self Assessment tax return on behalf of the deceased person.

Note: There is no need to contact HM Revenue and Customs if you already use their Tell Us Once service after someone dies.

But, you should contact HMRC bereavement and deceased helpline if you are not using the Tell Us Once service.

You need to inform them the actual date of the death and the name and address of who they can contact. They will also need to know some personal information about the deceased person such as their:

  • National Insurance number.
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (found on letters or payslips from HMRC).
  • Full address.
  • Last employer contact details or name and address of their pension provider.

Filling in a Tax Return when Someone Dies

Filling in and filing a tax return after death can be a challenge. You will need access to some private records of the deceased person.

Their circumstances before the death will determine exactly what records you will need. As a rule, you will need the details of the dead person’s bank and savings accounts. This can include:

  • Filing a Tax Return for Someone who DiedBank statements.
  • Building society pass books.
  • Dividend vouchers.
  • National Savings bonds or certificates.

If they were in employment or getting a pension you may also need:

  • Confirmation of any state pension.
  • Details of any expenses paid by the employer.
  • Work or pension payslips.

Note: You may need their business records if the deceased person ran a business or they rented out a property. Contact HMRC bereavement and deceased helpline to get help completing a tax return for someone who has died. They may also help if you are unable to find any records of the dead person.

HMRC Bereavement Helpline
Telephone:0300 200 3300
Textphone:0300 200 3319
Outside UK:+441355359022
Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm
Saturday: 8am to 4pm
Sunday: 9am to 5pm
Closed on UK bank holidays, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year Day.

Submitting a Tax Return after a Death

You can contact HM Revenue and Customs to register and then submit the return online. You can also send a paper version by postal methods.

There are deadlines for submitting tax returns and the time limits depend on how you submit the return. You can also hire the services of a professional. This means you can appoint a tax agent such as an accredited accountant to do the work for you.

Inform HMRC about the Administration Period

The ‘administration period‘ is the time between the day after a death and the date when the estate gets settled or ‘distributed‘.

Being the executor or administrator of an estate means you may need to send information to HMRC about the administration period.

The information you need to send will depend on the size of the estate. Any money coming from the estate during the administration period may also affect it.

Sending a Tax Return for the Administration Period

There may be a time when you need to send a tax return for the ‘administration period‘. If so, complete the trust and estate section of the Self Assessment tax return if any of these apply:

  1. The total amount of Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax due for the administration period was over £10,000.
  2. More than £250,000 came from the sale of estate assets by administrators or executors in any tax year that ended before 6th of April 2016.
  3. More than £500,000 came from the sale of estate assets by administrators or executors in the current tax year.
  4. The value of the estate was over £2.5 million at the date of the death.

Note: This trust and estate tax return is separate from the one you sent on behalf of the deceased person. This other tax return is for the dead person’s estate.

There are several ways to send a trust and estate tax return to HMRC. You can either:

  1. Fill in the paper form ‘Self Assessment: Trust and Estate Tax Return (SA900)‘. Send it by post to HMRC before the 31st of October after the tax year to which it applies.
  2. Buy Software for Self Assessment tax returns and send it electronically before the 31st of January. Note that the deadline is 3 months later than the paper version.

HMRC inform you how much the estate owes after they receive the tax return. You must also pay this other Self Assessment bill before the deadline.

Tax Return Informal Arrangement

What if you do not need to send a tax return? In this case you can make ‘informal arrangements‘ with HM Revenue and Customs instead. Write to HMRC giving them information of:

  1. The amount of Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax due for the administration period.
  2. The name, address, National Insurance number, and Unique Taxpayer Reference of the deceased person.
  3. Your name and details of how HM Revenue and Customs can contact you.

You can make payments of any outstanding tax at the office handling the tax of the person who died. A payslip, P60, or pension statement of the deceased will help you find the relevant tax office.

How to File a Self Assessment Tax Return for a Deceased Person in the United Kingdom