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Marriage Allowance: how to claim

Tim Woodgates

What is it?
From 2015/16, the Marriage Allowance was introduced for married couples and civil partnerships.  This allows one spouse to transfer 10% of their personal allowance to their partner.  The effect of this is that the person receiving the additional personal allowance, would attract basic rate tax relief on the amount transferred, reducing their tax by up to £230 in the tax year.  For 2015/16 this equated to £212.  For 2016/17, this was worth £220. 

Am I eligible?
As this is intended for basic rate tax payers, to be eligible for this allowance neither partner can be a higher rate tax payer.  This in practice means adjusted gross earnings of less than £43,000 for 2016/17. 

This allowance is therefore most suited to couples where one partner either doesn’t have any income at all or has minimal earnings that fall beneath the personal allowances threshold.  For 2016/17, the personal allowance threshold was £11,000.

If you haven’t claimed this before, HMRC automatically back date the claims for as long as you were eligible for the allowance.  Once claimed, the Marriage Allowance will remain in place until is revoked or either partner become ineligible. 

How do I claim?
The claim needs to be made by the transferee i.e. the lower earner.  This is the person who will need to contact HMRC.  We have compiled the following guidance to instruct our clients on how to claim the Marriage Allowance.  The process of claiming is relatively simple:

By telephone
Call HMRC’s general helpline 0300 200 330 and once connected to an advisor, request to transfer your Marriage Allowance.

You will be asked for the information contained in the table below so have this ready to ensure that the process runs smoothly.

Visit and work your way through the questions as prompted.  As with claiming by telephone, you will need the information in the table below. 

Once dealt with, HMRC will update their records and any backdated claims will be paid out via cheque.  Changes will be made to the tax codes of both parties to ensure this allowance is factored in to your tax deductions going forward.
Information Checklist
  • Your National Insurance number (e.g. JK 12 34 56 D)
  • Your partner's National Insurance number
  • Date of marriage
  • Any one of the following proofs of identity
    • the last 4 digits of the account that your child benefit, tax credits or pension is paid into
    • the last 4 digits of an account that pays you interest
    • details from your P60
    • details from any of your 3 most recent payslips
    • your passport number and expiry date