Marriage Allowance lets you transfer £1,250 of your Personal Allowance (external link) to your husband, wife or civil partner.
This reduces their tax by up to £250 in the tax year (6 April to 5 April the next year).
To benefit as a couple, you (as the lower earner) must normally have an income below your Personal Allowance - this is usually £12,500.
You can calculate how much tax you could save as a couple (external link). You should call the Income Tax Helpline (external link) instead if you receive other income such as dividends, savings or benefits from your job. You can also call if you don’t know what your taxable income is.
When you transfer some of your Personal Allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner you might have to pay more tax yourself, but you could still pay less as a couple.
Your income is £11,500 and your Personal Allowance is £12,500, so you don’t pay tax.
Your partner’s income is £20,000 and their Personal Allowance is £12,500, so they pay tax on £7,500 (their ‘taxable income’). This means as a couple you are paying Income Tax on £7,500.
When you claim Marriage Allowance you transfer £1,250 of your Personal Allowance to your partner. Your Personal Allowance becomes £11,250 and your partner gets a ‘tax credit’ on £1,250 of their taxable income.
This means you will now pay tax on £250, but your partner will only pay tax on £6,250. As a couple you benefit, as you are only paying Income Tax on £6,500 rather than £7,500, which saves you £200 in tax.
Who Can Apply
You can benefit from Marriage Allowance if all the following apply:
- you are 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 (external link), which usually means their income is between £12,501 and £50,000 before they receive Marriage Allowance
You cannot claim Marriage Allowance if you are living together but you are not married or in a civil partnership.
If you are in Scotland, your partner must pay the starter, basic or intermediate rate, which usually means their income is between £12,501 and £43,430.
It will not affect your application for Marriage Allowance if you or your partner:
- are currently receiving a pension
- live abroad - as long as you get a Personal Allowance
If you or your partner were born before 6 April 1935, you might benefit more as a couple by applying for Married Couple’s Allowance (external link) instead.
You cannot get Marriage Allowance and Married Couple’s Allowance at the same time.
Backdating your Claim
You can backdate your claim to include any tax year since 5 April 2015 that you were eligible for Marriage Allowance.
Your partner’s tax bill will be reduced depending on the Personal Allowance rate for the years you are backdating.
If your partner has died since 5 April 2015 you can still claim - phone the Income Tax Helpline (external link). If your partner was the lower earner, the person responsible for managing their tax affairs needs to phone.