The marriage allowance allows couples to share part of their personal tax-free allowance in certain circumstances. The marriage allowance is available to married couples and those in a civil partnership where one partner has an unused personal allowance and their spouse/partner only pays Income Tax at the basic rate.
HMRC has published a press release to remind eligible taxpayers to apply for the allowance and benefit from a tax refund of up to £900. Although 3 million couples have already applied for the allowance, it is estimated that there are still a further 1 million married and civil partnered couples who are eligible for the allowance but have not applied.
For 2018-19, the lower earning partner can transfer up to £1,190 of their personal tax-free allowance to a spouse or civil partner.
Couples that have not yet claimed the allowance can backdate their claim as far back as 6 April 2015 if they meet the eligibility requirements. This could result in a saving of up to £662 for 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 and a further £238 for the current tax year. Couples have up to four years to claim backdated annual allowances.
An application for the marriage allowance can be made online or by telephone. 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 £11,850 or less in 2018-19.