Marriage allowance – Are you eligible?

Are you married or in a civil partnership? If so, you may be entitled to a £1,150 tax exemption called the marriage tax allowance. With around 700,000 couples missing out, now is the time to take action.

The Marriage Allowance came into effect on 6th April 2015 and allows lower earning couples to share part of their personal tax-free allowance. The Marriage Allowance is available to married couples and those in a civil partnership where a spouse or civil partner doesn’t pay tax (i.e. one of the couple earns less than £12,500 in 2019/20).

What is it and why is it worth doing?

Marriage Allowance lets you transfer £1,250 of your personal allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner – if they earn more than you. This reduces their tax by up to £250 in the tax year (6th April to 5th April the next year).

As long as the below applies, you can benefit from Marriage Allowance if:

  • you’re married or in a civil partnership
  • you do not pay income tax, or your income is below your Personal Allowance (usually £12,500)
  • your partner pays income tax at the basic rate, which usually means their income is between £12,501 and £50,000

Just how much are we talking?

If one partner earns less than their annual tax allowance of £12,500, they can pass on a share of their remaining allowance to their partner – provided their other half earns between £12,500 and £50,000.

This allows the non-tax-payer in the relationship to transfer up to £1,250 of their personal allowance to their spouse, cutting their tax bill by up to £250 this year.

How to apply

It really is very simple, and only takes a few minutes – just use the application at HMRC. You’ll need both your national insurance numbers and one of a range of different acceptable forms of ID for the non-taxpayer.

If there’s a problem doing it online, just call 0300 200 3300 and apply by phone.

It’s worth noting you can only apply for those years in which you both met the criteria. So, for example if you earned more than the £11,000 personal allowance in 2016/17, HMRC won’t allow you to claim it.

Your Personal Allowance will transfer automatically to your partner every year until one of you cancels the Marriage Allowance or your circumstances change, e.g. because of divorce or death.

If you would like to discuss this topic further and/or your finances with one of our Chartered Independent Financial Advisers, please give us a call on 0800 160 1800 or email us on

The information contained within this blog is subject to the UK regulatory regime and is therefore only intended for customers in the UK. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate Tax Advice Planning.

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