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How does the Marriage Allowance work?

We've updated this guide on 27th May 2020

The Marriage Allowance is a simple way for couples to save on tax.

You transfer £1,250 (10%) of your Personal Allowance to your husband, wife, or civil partner if they earn more than you.

In 2020/21 tax year, this reduces their tax by up to £250.

Are we eligible?

Yes, if:

How much can my partner get?

You can backdate your claim by up to four years:

  • 2016/17 – £220
  • 2017/18 – £230
  • 2018/19 – £238
  • 2019/20 – £250
  • 2020/21 – £250.

So if you claim now and backdate, your partner/spouse can get up to £1,188.

How do we apply for it?

How to applyDetails
Who has to apply?The low earning partner
Where to apply?online at HMRC’s website or you can call 0300 200 3300
What do you need?both your NI numbers and passport or other IDs
When is the deadline?No deadline (but you can only claim for up to 4 tax years)

How does my partner receive it?

HMRC will give your partner their extra allowance either:

  • as a cheque: when you backdate it
  • by changing their tax code – it will show in the PAYE payslip
  • through their Self Assessment tax return.

Other frequently asked questions

  • My partner has died since 5 April 2015, can I apply? Yes
  • I am getting a pension, can I apply? Yes
  • I live abroad, can I apply? Yes
  • Do I need to apply every year? No, unless circumstances change
  • What if we divorce? You must cancel the Allowance – contact HMRC
  • What if my income increases? You must contact HMRC
  • I was born before 1935, can I apply? No, but there is a better allowance for you – the Married Couples’ Allowance.

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