What is the Marriage Allowance and how do you claim it?

Marriage allowance claim

Introduced in 2015, the Marriage Allowance enables an individual to transfer a portion of their personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner. If you are eligible, you can claim £230 during the 2017/18 tax year.

What is the Marriage Allowance?

This allowance, introduced by the Coalition Government, allows a non-earning, or low-earning spouse or civil partner, to transfer 10% of their personal allowance to the higher-earning partner.

The personal allowance is worth £11,500 during the 2017/18 tax year.

Applicable to basic rate taxpayers only, this £1,150 would normally be taxed at 20%. Rather than paying the £230 to HMRC, this results in a £230 tax saving for the higher-earning partner.

Who is eligible to claim the Marriage Allowance?

The Marriage Allowance is available to married couples and civil partners but your eligibility depends entirely on your earnings.

The lower-earning partner must not have used their personal allowance during the tax year in question. And the higher-earning partner’s total income must fall within the prevailing basic rate band (total income of £45,000 or less during 2017/18).

You can only transfer precisely 10% of the personal allowance – no more or less. So, if you’ve already used up most of your personal allowance – £11,000 of it, for example, and you transfer the £1,150 to your partner, you will end up being taxed on the amount your have exceeded the personal allowance by.

So, you need to make sure it makes economic sense to claim the allowance. Will the tax saving made by the higher-earner offset any additional income tax paid by the lower-earner?

How to apply to claim the Marriage Allowance

Only the person transferring their Personal Allowance can apply for this taxation.

To start the process, click here. Once you’ve completed the application, you will receive a confirmation email. As with many things related to HMRC, you should be prepared to wait up to a couple of months before your application is processed.

You will need the following information in hand before you start:

  • You and your partner’s NI numbers.
  • To prove your identity, you will also need to provide one of the following:
  • Last 4 digits of your bank account if you receive Government benefits, or which pays you interest.
  • Your P60 details (a form provided to you by your employer showing your earnings and tax deductions).
  • Your last 3 payslips.
  • Your passport.

Can I claim for previous years?

Yes, absolutely. The Marriage Allowance was introduced in the 2015/16 tax year, so you can claim for any tax years’ in which you and your partner were eligible to claim.

The value of the allowance each year has increased, so if you claim during the 2017/18 tax year, you can also backdate your claim for the previous two tax years – £212 (2015/16), £220 (2016/17) and £230 (2017/18).

Of the 4 million or so individuals eligible, it is estimated that only just over half have claimed so far.

You can find out more about the allowance here.

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