If you are widowed during the tax year, your tax status changes. The extent of this change depends on whether you were the person responsible for making tax returns or whether your deceased spouse was the person responsible for making tax returns.
If the surviving spouse was the person responsible for making the tax returns there is no particular change in the tax year when you are widowed. You continue to be entitled to the normal married persons tax credit and other associated claims e.g. home carer’s tax credit etc.
On the other hand if the surviving spouse was not the person responsible for making tax returns they are treated as a single person for the remainder of the tax year from the date they were widowed. You are entitled to both the single persons tax credit and an additional special tax credit for the year of bereavement, which brings the combined tax credit to the same amount as a married persons tax credit. If you have dependent children you do not get any additional tax credits apart from these in the year of bereavement. In addition you are entitled to the normal single persons 20% tax rate band for the remainder of the tax year.
In the years following bereavement, if you have dependant children you are entitled to both the single parent tax credit and an additional tax credit for each of the following 5 tax years. You are also entitled to a slightly greater 20% tax rate band than a single person.