Completing the Trust and Estate Return following a death

A deceased person's estate might receive income or make capital gains during the administration period. This period runs from the day following the death until their estate has been distributed. If you're dealing with the estate you may need to complete a Trust and Estate Return.

On this page:

Do you need to fill in a Trust and Estate Tax Return?

You don't have to complete a Trust and Estate Return if the estate is relatively straightforward. For example, if the total Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax due for the whole of the administration period is less than £10,000, you won't need to complete a return. You'll need to get in touch with the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) office that handled the deceased's tax affairs. They'll tell you how to pay any tax due.

If you do need to complete a Trust and Estate Return, you'll need to get in touch with a Trusts Office first. See the section 'Getting help and advice' below to find out how.

Working out the Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax due

When you work out the total tax, remember that some income received by the estate will have been taxed already, and there'll be no further tax to pay, for example:

  • bank or building society interest
  • dividends on company shares

Income you might have to pay tax on includes:

  • interest on some national savings bonds or accounts
  • rents from property
  • income from overseas investments

Don't forget that if you've sold or otherwise disposed of assets from the estate, you'll need to work out if Capital Gains Tax is payable. For example, as the personal representative of the estate, you may have sold or disposed of:

  • property or land
  • stocks and shares
  • business assets, for example business premises

Read an introduction to Capital Gains Tax

See more taxable and non-taxable income at a glance


Completing the Trust and Estate Tax Return

If you need to complete a Trust and Estate Tax Return, you can do it online, or fill in a paper form (SA900). If you complete a paper tax return, you may need some additional pages depending on your circumstances. Follow the SA900 link below to download these.

If you send the return online the deadline is later than if you send a paper return - there are many other advantages too. You'll first need to buy commercial software and register with HMRC Online Services.

Go to form SA900, guidance and supplementary pages

File your tax return online - find out more about the benefits and how to register

Self Assessment software from commercial suppliers

Register for Self Assessment Online


What happens if you don't have exact figures?

If you don't have exact figures you can use:

  • an estimate - a figure you want HMRC to accept as your final figure
  • a provisional figure - one you want to use until you can confirm the actual amount (you must tell HMRC when the actual figures will be available)

Use the 'Additional Information' section on the tax return to say how you've arrived at these figures and why you can't use actual figures. If you make adjustments later and you've underpaid tax you may have to pay interest and penalties.


Avoiding common mistakes

Sending your tax return online can help you to avoid making mistakes.

If you send in a paper tax return:

  • make sure you sign and date it
  • check that you've completed and included any additional pages needed
  • don't include notes on the return like 'per accounts' or 'information to follow'


When to send the tax return

If you're asked to complete a Trust and Estate Tax Return for the administration period, you must send it back on or before:

  • 31 October following the tax year it relates to if you send it on paper
  • 31 January following the tax year it relates to if you send it online

If you want to finalise the administration period earlier than this, ask HMRC to send you a paper tax return. You won't be able to complete it online.


Tax returns after the administration period has ended

The administration period ends when the deceased's financial affairs have been settled. The Trusts Office will send you a Trust and Estate Tax Return to cover the final period.

You will only need to carry on completing tax returns if a trust of all or part of the residue of the estate is to be set up. If you're a trustee of that trust, you'll have to complete Trust and Estate Tax Returns for as long as the trust exists if there is Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax to pay.

Find out about tax returns for trustees


Getting help and advice

Getting help with the deceased's tax affairs

You should get in touch with HMRC as soon as possible after the person has died. HMRC will be able to help you by talking you through what is needed.

Call the Taxes Helpline or get in touch with the HMRC office that dealt with the deceased's tax affairs. If you don't know who to contact, use the ''Telephone or write to HMRC' link below.

Telephone or write to HMRC

Contact the HMRC Taxes Helpline

Dealing with the estate

If you need general information about Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax relating to the administration period, you can call the Deceased Estates Helpline. But if your question is specifically about the tax affairs of the deceased person you should contact their HMRC office or the Taxes Helpline.

Contact the Deceased Estates Helpline

Getting advice on Self Assessment

If you need help you can ring the Self Assessment Helpline - they'll be able to provide advice on completing your tax return and give general advice about Self Assessment.

Contact the Self Assessment Helpline

Contacting the Trusts & Estates Office

If you complete a Trust and Estate Return, it will usually be dealt with by the HMRC Trusts & Estates Office.

The Trusts & Estates Office also deals with general Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax queries that are related to trusts.

Use the link below to find the Trusts & Estates Office contact details.

Contact HMRC for help with tax on trusts

Getting professional help

Dealing with someone's estate can be complex so you might want to get professional advice from a tax adviser or solicitor.

Find a solicitor on the Law Society website (Opens new window)

Law Society of Scotland - find a solicitor (Opens new window)

Find a tax adviser on the Chartered Institute of Taxation website (Opens new window)

Find a chartered accountant on the ICAEW website (Opens new window)

Institute of Chartered Accountants (Scotland) - find a tax adviser (Opens new window)


More useful links

Find out more about tax and benefits after a death

Read an introduction to trusts

More on bereavement (Opens new window)