1.8 million couples claim marriage allowance

Nearly 1.8 million married couples and those in civil partnerships have signed up for the marriage allowance to save up to £252 a year in income tax

HMRC is keen to remind taxpayers to sign up for the allowance after they get married. It is also worth bearing in mind that even if they have been married for years, a change in circumstances could also mean they are newly eligible.

Marriage allowance allows married couples or those in civil partnerships to share their personal tax allowances if one partner earns an income under their personal allowance threshold of £12,570 and the other is a basic rate taxpayer.

They can transfer 10% of their tax-free allowance to their partner, which is £1,260 in 2021/22. It means couples can reduce the tax they pay by up to £252 a year. Couples can backdate their claims for any of the four previous tax years, which could be worth up to a total of £1,220.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s deputy chief executive, said: ‘Marriage allowance lets eligible couples share their personal allowances and reduce their tax by up to £252 a year. Nearly 1.8 million couples are already using the service – it is free, quick and easy to apply on gov.uk.’

Married couples may have experienced a change in their circumstances which could now mean they are eligible for marriage allowance, including:

• a recent marriage or civil partnership;

• one partner has retired and the other remains working;

• change in employment due to Covid-19;

• a reduction in working hours which means their earnings fall below their personal allowance;

• unpaid leave or a career break; or

• one partner is studying or in education and not earning above their personal allowance.

Marriage Allowance is 10% of an individuals’ tax-free personal allowance. The maximum amount that can be transferred to their husband, wife or civil partner is dependent on the personal allowance for that tax year.

If a spouse or civil partner has died since 5 April 2017, the surviving person can still claim by contacting the income tax helpline.

Marriage allowance claims are automatically renewed every year. However, couples should notify HMRC if their circumstances change.

The marriage allowance was first introduced in April 2017.

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