Joan’s Story: The fiscal challenges of grief
This is a story from Tax Help for Older People.
We often hear from widowers, like Joan, who are struggling financially following the loss of their life partner. Who, amidst this struggle are then hit by a surprise tax bill or outstanding debt that they do not understand.
Joan was recently widowed. Without her husband’s pension, she was struggling, trying to manage on a lower income than she was used to.
When she received a high bill from HMRC, with no savings and on her low income, she had no idea how she would ever be able to pay this. She also had no idea why she had received the bill in the first place.
When she called our helpline, she was clearly agitated and distressed. The financial burden of losing her partner had already been quite significant. Our helpline adviser explained that due to the death of her husband, and a change in pension entitlement, a tax liability had risen, and unfortunately, the tax bill was correct.
However, our adviser reached out to HMRC detailing Joan’s financial circumstances, resulting in the cancellation of her tax debt. This lifted a weight off Joan’s shoulders.
Due to our charity, Tax Help for Older People, supporting older people, it is not unusual for us to hear from widowers. The financial fallout of losing a life partner can be significant and can lead to tax problems. It can be especially difficult for our beneficiaries when these issues arise at a time when their emotional upheaval from the loss is still quite raw.
It is with thanks to our dedicated volunteers for their empathy, understanding and expert tax knowledge, that we can help people like Joan through these difficult circumstances.