The marriage allowance (MA) allows couples, where one partner does not fully utilise their personal tax allowance, to share a limited amount of the unutilised portion with their spouse. The MA is only available to married couples and those in a civil partnership.
The MA allows the lower earning partner to transfer up to £1,150 (2016-17: £1,100) of their unutilised personal tax-free allowance to a spouse or civil partner. The MA can only be used when the recipient of the transfer doesn’t pay more than the basic 20% rate of income tax. This transfer reduces the receiving spouse’s tax by up to £230 in the current tax year, 2017-18 i.e. (£1,150 x 20%).
Couples that have not yet claimed the MA can backdate their claim to 6 April 2015 if they meet the eligibility requirements. This could result in a combined saving of up to £662 (for 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18). Couples have up to four years to claim backdated MA.
The application must be made by the non-taxpayer who is transferring their allowance. To benefit as a couple, the non-taxpayer needs to earn less than their partner and have an income of £11,500 or less during 2017-18. The receiving partner’s income for the same year must be between £11,501 and £45,000 (or £43,000 if you’re in Scotland).
An application for the marriage allowance can be made online or by telephone. There is an online application process you can use athttps://www.gov.uk/apply-marriage-allowance.