If not, it’s a tidy sum in the Government’s coffers with your name on it – just waiting for you to apply for it.
You Can Claim Marriage Allowance If You:
- Are married or in a civil partnership
- Don’t pay income tax, or if your income is less than your Personal Allowance
- Have a partner who pays income tax at the basic rate (usually with an income of between £11,851 and £46,350)
The Marriage Allowance tax break has received criticism over the years with some saying that it favours married couples over those who have chosen not to marry or enter a civil partnership.
Civil Partnership Ceremony
Still, it makes sense to take advantage of it if you’re married or in a civil partnership, irrespective of your views on it. There are still around a million couples in the UK who have not yet taken advantage of Marriage Allowance – and it’s money that’s just there for the taking. A ‘gift horse’, as it were.
And you know what they say … “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”.
They’ve been saying it for centuries, so it must be good advice. Way back in 400 AD, St. Jerome noted the proverb which had already been around for generations. It comes from the practice of looking at a horse’s teeth to estimate its age (we do more than count up the numbers). An old horse was considered better than no horse at all … grab it and be grateful!
One thing that confuses people is the difference between the Marriage Allowance and the Married Couple’s Allowance. If you or your partner were born before 6 April 1935, you might be better off applying for the latter.
HOW YOUR MARRIAGE ALLOWANCE WORKS
If your husband, wife or civil partner earns more than you and your income doesn’t exceed your Personal Allowance (normally £11,850), you could transfer up to £1,190 to them in a given tax year. That, in turn, will reduce their tax by up to £238 – a handy sum not to be sneezed at.
HOW TO CLAIM YOUR MARRIAGE ALLOWANCE
Not every couple is eligible for the allowance, but you’ll be able to find out on the HMRC website if you are. If you are receiving a pension or living overseas and receiving a Personal Allowance, you may still apply for it.
On the website, you’ll find an online form which should only take you about half an hour to fill in – even less if you have both of your National Insurance numbers, proof of identity and P60 details already to hand.
The person with the lower income should make the claim. All you really need to know is how much you earn and what tax bracket you fall into. The HMRC will then make the changes to your Personal Allowance, backdating it to the start of the current tax year (6 April).
HOW WILL YOU RECEIVE YOUR MARRIAGE ALLOWANCE?
The HMRC will pay you out in one of two ways:
- They will set up the higher earning partner with a new tax code (this can take around eight weeks to complete)
- On receipt of the higher earner’s Self-Assessment tax return
From then on, it will transfer automatically to the higher earner in your partnership every year unless one of you cancels it or your circumstances change through divorce or death. If you end up with a higher income than your Personal Allowance after making your claim, you might need to pay some income tax … but overall, both of you should benefit nonetheless.
All in all, Marriage Allowance is a handy boost to your finances and easy to arrange – so go on, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth! Grab it and make the most of it.