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The cheat’s guide to claiming the marriage allowance

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8 December 2015

HMRC introduced a tax break for married couples on 6 April 2015. A Marriage Allowance of up to 10% of a spouse’s or civil partner’s unused personal allowance can be transferred providing:

  • their partner’s income is between £10,601 and £42,385; and
  • both partners were born on or after 6 April 1935.

The objective of the measure is to encourage marriage, however, with an average wedding costing £20,000 and a tax saving of just over £200 per year (£212 for 2015/16) it may not spur you on to take the plunge and propose this Christmas. For those already married though, the saving may prove a welcome contribution towards the Christmas present fund.

Who will benefit?

In practice this will be mainly applicable to single earner households, where the non-working spouse’s personal allowance would have otherwise been wasted. It could also benefit pensioners, where one spouse receives a pension up to the basic rate band with the other spouse having no (or low) taxable income.

How to claim

HMRC recommend that you make the claim for Marriage Allowance via their website at: www.gov.uk/marriageallowance. However, this has proven to be a time consuming process and does not always have the desired effect.

The usual route for making other elections is via letter to HMRC, stating the particular parts of the legislation you are making a claim under. We have experienced success claiming the Marriage Allowance using this age old method of writing a letter, despite HMRC’s claim that it should be done online. If you wish to try this route, the individual with the excess personal allowance should write to HMRC and state that “As defined under s.55B(2) ITA 2007 I wish to make a transfer of the transferable amount to my spouse for the 2015/16 and subsequent tax years.”

You should also include the following details:

  • Full names, dates of birth and national insurance numbers of transferor and transferee.
  • Date of your marriage / civil partnership.
  • Confirmation that you meet the eligibility criteria as set out in s.55B(4) ITA 2007.

If required, we can provide you with a proforma letter for making this claim, but as yet, Agents are unable to make this election on client’s behalf.

Once your election has been processed, both spouses should receive revised PAYE coding notices which show the additional allowances transferred to the higher earning spouse. Please ensure that any PAYE Coding Notices are checked carefully for accuracy, or passed to your advisor at Hazlewoods.