Thursday, 11 June 1998
Dáil Éireann Debate
49. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Finance if he will clarify the situation in relation to the availability of the additional 50 per cent tax free allowance for people whose spouse dies; the eligibility criteria and benefits of this allowance; whether it is of the same benefit depending on the time of year that a partner dies, that is, if a partner dies just before the end of the tax year, is the full allowance granted in that tax year or in subsequent tax years; and the proposals, if any, he has to amend this allowance. [13896/98]
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): Under tax legislation, a person whose spouse dies is entitled to a special widowed person's tax-free allowance in the year of assessment in which the spouse dies. Eligibility for the special allowance is confined to the year of assessment in which a person is widowed. In tax law a year of assessment, or tax year, begins on 6 April.
The special widowed person's allowance in the tax year of bereavement is currently £6,300, equivalent to the allowance for a married couple. Otherwise the tax free allowance for a widowed person is £3,650.
The main purpose of the special allowance is to ensure the tax free allowances available to a family are maintained and not reduced during a tax year in which one of the spouses dies. The value of the allowance is the same irrespective of when in the tax year the spouse dies. The special allowance cannot be carried forward into subsequent years of assessment irrespective of the date in the year of assessment on which the deceased spouse dies.
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