Married couples missing out on tax break

Around one million married couples in the UK are failing to claim Marriage Allowance, which a simple-to-claim tax break that could leave them hundreds of pounds better off.

Marriage Allowance allows the spouse who earns the least of the two to transfer £1,190 of their Personal Allowance to their husband, wife or civil partner, as long as the recipient earns more than they do and pays income tax at the basic rate, which usually means that their income is between £11,850 and £46,350.

Doing this will reduce their tax by up to £238. To benefit as a couple, the lower earner must have an income below their Personal Allowance, which is now £12,500

It is easy to claim, and the claim can be backdated to the date of the marriage. A spouse can even claim if their partner has died since April 2015.

However, if the deceased was the lower earner, the person responsible for managing their tax affairs would need to call the Income Tax helpline. It also makes no difference if either partner is currently receiving a pension or if they live abroad, as long as one of them is getting a Personal Allowance.

Older couples can also benefit. If either spouse was born before 6 April 1935, they might benefit more as a couple by applying for Married Couple’s Allowance instead. However, anyone thinking of claiming should note that they cannot get Marriage Allowance and Married Couple’s Allowance at the same time.

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