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Could you get a tax break of £432 with the Marriage Allowance?

Posted 11 July 2016

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Find out if you could benefit from the tax break for married couples.

If you’re married and you or your partner is on a low income, you might be able to claim a tax break of up to £432.

This is thanks to the Marriage Allowance, a tax break for married couples or those in a civil partnership. It means that if one of you earns less than your tax-free Personal Allowance in a year, you can share the remainder of this with your partner. The Marriage Allowance came into force in April 2015 but if you’ve only just heard about it, you might be able to claim for last year as well.


What you could claim

You’ll qualify for Marriage Allowance if you, your spouse or your civil partner earns less than £11,000 in the tax year 2016/17. This is the Personal Allowance for basic rate taxpayers and it increases every year. That means that if you weren’t eligible for Marriage Allowance in the 2015/16 tax year because you earned just over £10,600, you could get it now.

If you or your partner isn’t earning all of the Personal Allowance, you can transfer part of this to the other. The most you can transfer this year is £1,100 – this would take the other person’s Personal Allowance up to £12,100. This means you could save an extra £220 in income tax for this year.

Could you claim for last year?

What’s more, it turns out you were eligible for Marriage Allowance last year as well but you just didn’t realise, you could claim for both this year and last. This would give you a total saving of £432.

The Government even says you’ll be able to get backdated claims for up to four years of Marriage Allowance. This is only as far back as the 2015/16 tax year though and you’re better off claiming it now in case the rules change in the future.

According to Government figures from January, just 8% of eligible couples claimed Marriage Allowance in the first year so it’s really worth checking if you could get it.

How to apply

You and your partner will need be to born on or after 6 April 1935. You can claim the tax break from HMRC online or by ringing 0300 200 3300.

The person that’s looking to give up some of their Personal Allowance is the one who should apply. So if you earn £9,900 and you want to transfer £1,100 of your Personal Allowance to your spouse, you’ll need to apply for the tax break. Make sure you have both of your National Insurance numbers to hand, as well as ID for the person who is giving up part of the Personal Allowance.

HMRC will tell both you and your partner’s employers to update your tax code. If you’re the person giving up the Personal Allowance, your tax code will now end in N. The other person’s tax code will end in M, showing they’ve got extra Personal Allowance from their partner.


by Emily Bancroft

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