How does the Marriage Allowance work?

The Marriage Allowance is a great way to save on tax, and it’s very simple, too.

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

In 2019/20 tax year, this reduces their tax by up to £250.

Are we eligible?

Yes, if:

  • you’re officially married or in a civil partnership
  • one of you earns less than the personal allowance (£12,500 in 2019/20)
  • the other partner is a basic 20% rate taxpayer: less than £50,000 in the 2019/20 tax year
  • you were both born on or after 6 April 1935.

How much can my partner get?

You can backdate your claim by up to four years:

  • 2015/16 – £212
  • 2016/17 – £220
  • 2017/18 – £230
  • 2018/19 – £238
  • 2019/20 – £250.

So if you claim now and backdate, your partner/spouse can get up to £938.

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 actually get 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 5th of 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 yearNo, 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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