Widow’s bereavement allowance was the only income tax allowance available for widows and was available for deaths occurring before 6 April 2000. It was available in the year of the husband’s death and the following year.
Around 150,000 widows were eligible for widow’s bereavement allowance in 1999-2000 of which 100,000 benefited from a reduction in their income tax liability, the remainder paid no income tax. This represented a reduction of around £20 million of income tax, resulting in total income tax liability of £175 million for widows in receipt of widow’s bereavement allowance.
These estimates are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes for 1999-2000 which was the final year widow’s bereavement allowance was available in full.