We understand that when someone passes away there are many things to deal with and that finalising their income tax affairs doesn't need to take priority.
Once we have been told someone has died we will update our records and send out a letter of confirmation. We then won't send out anything else for at least eight weeks.
If you are dealing with an estate and would rather not wait for us to contact you at a later date, please let us know and we will write to you as soon as you want.
If you receive a letter from us and you feel you need more time, please contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do when someone dies?
- When someone dies you should let us know as soon as possible.
- We will need the following information:
- The name of the person
- The date of death
- The person's tax reference and/or social security number. (If this isn't available, please provide the date of birth)
- The name and address of the person who will be dealing with their affairs, (known as the personal representative of the estate)
Do you get told automatically if someone dies?
- In Guernsey, Alderney or Herm, when a death is registered at the Greffe, this information is passed on to us.
- However if someone dies whilst off the Island, the death is registered in the country where the person died, and not at the Greffe. In these cases we won't be notified automatically.
Do I need to provide a copy of the death certificate?
- No, we don't need to see a copy.
What happens for missing persons?
- Until the death certificate has been issued, we are not able to treat the missing person as deceased.
What information will I need to provide in order to finalise the assessments?
- You will need to let us have details of the total income for the current year, from 1st January to the date of death, showing each source of income separately. This can either be provided in a letter or schedule, or you may find it easier to complete a paper tax return available from Edward T Wheadon House. Alternatively, if you want a paper return posted to you, please let us know.
- If the person who died was either the male in a heterosexual marriage, or the older partner in a same sex marriage or civil partnership, then we will need details of the income received by their spouse during that same period. The spouse will need to complete their own return, the following year, showing their income from the date of death to 31st December.
- If the person who died was either the female in a heterosexual marriage, or the younger partner in a same sex marriage or civil partnership, (and was jointly assessed with their spouse), then we will need details of their income up to the date of their death. This can just be included on the tax return submitted for that calendar year in the usual way.
- If a tax return for a previous year has not yet been submitted, this will also be needed. If you aren't sure whether a return is outstanding please contact us.
- If you are having difficulty obtaining any of the information needed, please contact us as soon as possible.
Will you need any other information?
- Yes, you will need to let us have details of any income which arises (or accrues) during the administration of the estate. This is income that is paid after the date a person died, but before the estate is distributed. It is called testamentary income.
- The beneficiaries of an estate are taxable on any testamentary income they receive, not the estate. Examples are
- Dividends paid after the date of death, but before shares are sold or transferred
- Rental income received, after the date of death, but before a property is transferred to the ownership of the beneficiaries, (or is sold)
- Interest paid on a bank account, including accounts that have been set up for the purpose of administering the estate.
- You will also need to let us know the names and addresses of the beneficiaries of the estate, together with details of what they have received.
Is the personal representative legally required to provide the information?
- Yes, the responsibilities that a person has regarding tax passes to their personal representative when they die. The personal representative is then responsible for providing all of the information needed, and for paying any tax that is due (out of any money that is in the estate).
What happens if there was a power of attorney, legal guardianship, or form of authority in place before death?
- Any power of attorney, legal guardianship or form of authority will end when the person dies. The personal representative of the estate becomes responsible for dealing with the Revenue Service and if they want an accountant or someone to deal for them, a new form of authority would be needed.
Do you need to see the will?
- Yes we will need to see copies of both the wills of personalty and realty (or combined will of personalty and realty), especially if there is a repayment due as we need to have confirmation of who the executor(s) of the estate is/are.
What happens if there is no will?
- If a valid will has not been left (or if the executor named in the will is unable or unwilling to act) a copy of the letters of administration will be required.
- If there is no probate due to the size of the estate, then the next of kin who is dealing with the details of the estate would be treated as the personal representative and the normal rules of intestacy would apply. This means that the estate would go to the relevant heirs whether that is a spouse, children or siblings etc.
- For further information regarding applying for a Guernsey grant of representation (probate or letters of administration) please visit www.guernseyprobate.gg/probate or telephone the Ecclesiastical Court on 721732.
What is an estate?
- The estate includes all of the property, assets, money and possessions owned by the person who has died.
What is a beneficiary?
- A beneficiary is the person who will receive capital (cash) or assets from the estate of a person who has died.
What is testamentary income?
- This is any income which arises (or accrues) between the date a person dies and the date that the estate is finalised.
- Examples would include (but are not limited to):
- Dividends that are paid before the shares are sold
- Rental income received before a property is transferred to the ownership of the beneficiaries or is sold
- The beneficiaries of the estate are liable to tax on any testamentary income they receive.
If I receive an inheritance, is it taxable and do I need to declare it?
- There is no inheritance tax in Guernsey. If you receive capital (cash) or assets from the estate of a person who has died, you will not need to pay income tax on that amount, or on the value of the asset you have received.
- Depending on what you receive and what you do with it, it may have an impact on your income tax affairs. Examples include (but are not limited to):
- If you inherit cash and use it to pay off part, or all, of your mortgage, you will need to contact us to adjust your Coding Notice (to reduce or remove the mortgage interest), otherwise you may not pay enough tax throughout the year.
- If you receive money and choose to invest it, you will be taxed on any interest or dividends received, please contact us to adjust your coding notice accordingly.
- If you inherit a property or have a share in a property which is rented, you will be taxed on your share of the rental income received, again your coding notice will need to be adjusted.
- For further information on Coding Notices please click here.
What happens if there is a tax repayment due?
- Once the assessments have been finalised, if a repayment is due we will require a letter signed by all executor(s) of the estate confirming who the cheque should be made payable to, together with a copy of the will to show who the executor(s) of the estate are.
- If a valid will has not been left, or if the executor named in the will is unable or unwilling to act, the named administrator will need to provide a copy of the letters of administration along with a letter stating who the cheque should be made payable to.
- If there is no will or probate we require a letter signed by all beneficiaries stating who the cheque should be made payable to.
What happens if there is a bill?
- If there is a debit balance at the account when a person dies, we will not collect the outstanding amount, until the assessments have been finalised and the final balance is known.
- Once the assessments have been done, if tax is due to be paid, this is the responsibility of the estate and must be paid before the final distributions are made.
- If there is nothing in the estate (no funds, property or assets), the debt will not be pursued however, a statement of final distribution must be supplied confirming this.
Can I make the final distributions from the estate before the income tax affairs have been finalised?
- No. Any tax due on the final assessments must be paid before the final distributions are made from the estate.
- If the estate has been distributed before the tax has been paid, the personal representative of the estate will need to recover funds from the beneficiaries in order for the income tax liability to be paid.