I understand that the Deputy’s query concerns the tax situation that arises when two individuals who have been married or in a civil partnership, separate but do not get divorced, and one of them dies. In these circumstances the survivor is treated as a widowed individual for tax purposes. As a consequence, the surviving individual would have the following entitlements under the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 that are specific to a widowed or bereaved person:
- basic personal tax credit of €3,300 under section 461 – available only in the year of bereavement;
- widowed persons tax credit of €540 under section 461A – available in addition to the basic personal tax credit of €1,650 from the year following the year of bereavement and where the individual has not remarried;
- one-parent family tax credit of €1,650 under section 462 - available where a qualifying child resides with the claimant and he or she has not remarried or entered a cohabiting relationship;
- widowed parent tax credit reducing from €3,600 to €1,800 over the five years following the year of bereavement under section 463 – available where a qualifying child resides with the claimant and he or she has not remarried or entered a cohabiting relationship.
In relation to persons who were married and that marriage was annulled or dissolved, or if the parties were formally divorced, then each has reverted to single status without any link to the status of the other party to the former marriage. In such circumstances the death of either party to the former marriage will have no tax consequences for the surviving individual. (Note that a Church annulment does not invalidate a marriage in civil law.)
The Revenue Commissioners have published leaflets on their website on related topics:
- Leaflet IT3 – What to do about tax on the breakdown of a marriage, civil partnership or cohabiting relationship http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it3.html ;
- Leaflet IT40 – Tax treatment of widowed persons http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it40.html .