Are you entitled to the Marriage Allowance?

The Marriage Allowance was introduced in April 2015. Details about eligibility are not greatly advertised so if you are thinking of making a claim, you may find our guide useful:

How it works:

The Marriage Allowance allows you to transfer 10% of your Personal Allowance to your spouse or civil partner where you have unused allowances and is worth up to £250 in the current tax year. To benefit from this as a couple, one of you must have an income below your Personal Allowance (the standard Personal Allowance is £12,500, which is the amount of income you are not required to pay tax on) and the taxpaying earner must pay tax at basic rate.

This allowance can be claimed for a number of years, so if you have not claimed it already, it is worth looking into.  

You can apply for Marriage Allowance if:

  • You are married or in a civil partnership;
  • You do not pay Income Tax or your income is below your Personal Allowance;
  • Your partner pays Income Tax at the basic rate – this usually means that their income would be between £12,501 and £50,000 before receiving Marriage Allowance.

You are not eligible to claim Marriage Allowance if you live together but you are not married or in a civil partnership.

Your application for Marriage Allowance will not be affected if you are:

  • Currently receiving a pension
  • Living abroad (as long as you get a Personal Allowance)

If you were born before 6 April 1935, you may wish to apply for Married Couple’s Allowance instead which could reduce your tax bill by between £345 and £891.50 a year.

How to apply:

The person who earns the least should make the claim if both of you have no income other than your wages.

If either of you gets income from another source, such as savings, then you will need to work out who should claim by speaking to your accountant or contacting the Income Tax helpline.

You can apply for the marriage allowance online. You will need:

  • Yours and your partner’s National Insurance number.
  • Proof of your identity such as your passport number and expiry date or details from your 3 most recent payslips.

Backdating your claim:

You can make a backdated claim to include any tax year that you have been eligible for Marriage Allowance and this could backdate a number of years. The reduction of your partner’s tax bill will depend on the amount of the transferrable Personal Allowance for the years you are backdating.


The claim must be made by the spouse who has the surplus allowances, so you need to tell your accountant if you think this might apply to you and your spouse. Your accountant may not know that you are eligible if they do not know about your partners tax affairs.

Taxpayers who do not have a reasonable understanding of their tax position may not be aware that they have surplus allowances which can be transferred to their spouse. The claim can only be made where the partner with the higher income is a basic rate taxpayer.

If you think this may apply to you, then you can find out more on the government website here.

For further advice please get in touch and ask to speak to a member of our tax team on 01903 234094.