What is the Tell Us Once service?

What is the Tell Us Once service?

After you’ve told family and friends about a close one’s death, you’ll also need to tell the many government departments out there that someone’s died. This might seem like a huge task –  dying doesn’t just mean dealing with leftover tax but also cancelling a driving license or removing someone from the electoral register. Here we look at the Tell Us Once service, which informs many departments in one go.

What is the Tell Us Once service?

Tell Us Once is a government service that allows you to easily tell several departments in one go that someone’s died. The service is provided by most local authorities on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

What does the Tell Us Once service cover?

The Tell Us Once service covers all of the important departments:

  • HM Revenue and Customs (for tax and benefits)
  • Department for Work and Pensions (for benefits such as income support)
  • Public sector or armed forces pension schemes (for pension payments)
  • Passport Office (for British passports)
  • Local council (including Housing benefit, council tax benefit, blue badge, removal from electoral register and informing council housing services)
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (for a driving license)

Why is it important to tell these departments?

For most of these areas, it’s crucial that you let them know someone’s died. Here’s a look at each of the most important departments and how contacting them will help with the boring administrative tasks that accompany death.


After you contact HMRC, they will work out whether the right amount of tax has been paid by the person who died.

Unsurprisingly, taxes don’t stop once you’re dead. After its been told, HMRC will let you know if tax still needs to be paid for that person. It will also evaluate whether you need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return on the person’s behalf.

HMRC will also deal with any inheritance tax due on the person’s assets. Read our simple guide to inheritance tax here.

HMRC also has a handy online tool to guide you through all the tax-related tasks you’re going to have to go through after someone close to you has died.

National Insurance (NI) Contributions Office

If the person were self-employed or paid voluntary NI, then contacting the National Insurance Contributions office will cancel those NI payments.

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

After contacting the DWP, its bereavement service will cancel the person’s benefits. This includes a State Pension. The DWP will also check if you’re eligible for financial help with funeral costs. A correspondence with the Department for Work and Pensions isn’t everyone’s idea of a nice afternoon, but it could be worthwhile.

Personal and workplace pensions

Once you’ve used the Tell Us Once service, you’ll get clear view of what will happen to that person’s workplace or personal pension. If the person who died was a partner, you’ll be forwarded information on whether or not you can receive that pension.

How do you register for the Tell Us Once service?

You can only contact the Tell Us Once service after you’ve registered the death. Read our article here on what to do after someone dies to clear up any confusion.

Once you officially register the death, the registrar will let you know if Tell Us Once is available in your area, give you the contact details and provide you with a reference number to use online or by telephone. Only after you’ve been given the unique reference number will you be able to contact the service.

Information to get ready before you contact the Tell Us Once service

If you contact the Tell Us Once service, you’re going to need a bunch of details on the person who’s died.

These details include their date of birth, National Insurance number, driving license number and passport number.

You’ll also need some information on their financial matters. This means information on any benefits or pensions, or local authority services like blue badges that you wish to cancel.

Finally, you’ll need contact details for next of kin and the name and address of a partner, if this is the case, as well as the person dealing with their estate.

Don’t worry if this sound like a lot to remember – once you start the process, the Tell Us Once service will clearly outline what information you need. You can start the service here.

Is the Tell Us Once service available in every local authority?

Not every local authority offers the Tell Us Once service, and it’s not available in Northern Ireland. There is a list of authorities where it is not available on the GOV website.

Find out more

After you register the person’s death, the registrar will pass on your reference number and the Tell Us Once service phone number. Alternatively, go to the Tell Us Once website to begin an online form.

Start planning ahead by getting clear on the financial and legal side of death. You’ll find lots of information on our Legal Matters page and our Money Issues hub.

Want to know more about the practical side of death?

Read our article explaining everything you need to know about Lasting Power of Attorney

And if you need to brush up, read our article on what Probate involves

Read our article on whether or not you need a lawyer when dealing with Probate

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