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Tax on benefits on death

Benefits emerging from a pension fund on the death of a member are assessable on the recipients for the purposes of Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) and/or income tax.

Lump sums payable are subject to CAT. Under current legislation, spouses/civil partners including those who are divorced or whose civil partnership has dissolved pay no CAT. Payments to children and other beneficiaries are subject to the CAT thresholds which apply to them.

Spouses'/civil partners' and dependants' pensions are payable subject to income tax in the course of payment, and the Universal Social Charge, but not PRSI deductions.

Benefits payable from ARFs can be passed to a spouse/civil partner without payment of CAT or income tax.  

Benefits payable to a child under 21 are subject to CAT but not to income tax.

Otherwise ARFs are treated as if they had been drawn down on death and are subject to marginal rate income tax (or 30% if inherited by a child over age 21) and also CAT if inherited by strangers.