Are you married? Or are you in a civil partnership? Do you know, you may miss out up to £950 per annum tax allowance? More than two million couples in UK do not know what is marriage allowance and how do they claim it.

What is Marriage Tax Allowance?

Marriage Tax Allowance is government scheme that lets you transfer your unused £12,500 tax free personal allowance to your spouse or civil partner. To take benefit of the scheme, one of you must be earning lower than £12,500 and the other must earn above £12,500. You can use the Marriage Tax Allowance Calculator if you want to see how much tax liability you can save for your total household income.

In case you are receiving other incomes like savings interest or dividends, call the Income Tax Helpline  to check for your particular eligibility for Marriage Tax Allowance. This helpline is dedicated for personal tax accounts and must be used to notify HMRC about any changes that affect your tax code. You can contact HMRC here for your tax estimations. Automated assistant ‘Ruth’ answers al your queries.


Yes. You can claim up till last four years marriage tax allowance. This means you can claim for any tax year since 5th April 2015.

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If your spouse or partner has died, you can still claim his/her unused tax free personal allowance; given that the person managing his tax affairs calls the Income Tax Helpline.

In Autumn Budget 2017, widows or widowers were allowed to claim up till £900 in backdated marriage tax allowance for each year they were married to their spouse or were in civil partnership with their partner. However, you cannot backdate your claim before 2015; i.e. 4 years in past.  Even if your spouse of partner dies on day 1 of the new tax year, you are eligible to claim marriage tax allowance for that year.

If the deceased partner or spouse has transferred you some of their personal allowance, your allowance will stay at higher level till the end of that tax year. Meanwhile, your partner/spouse’s estate will have a lower personal allowance.

If you are the low earning partner, and your high earning partner dies after you have transferred your personal allowance to them, the said allowance will be treated as personal allowance for their inheritance. Your personal allowance will be reverted to what it was before the transfer.


Make sure you fulfill the four criteria listed below in order to be eligible for marriage tax allowance.

  • You are married or you are in a registered civil partnership. Living together is not sufficient for claiming Marriage Tax Allowances.
  • Between the two of you, one must be a non-taxpayer; which means earnings less than £12,500 per year between the years 6th April 2015 to 5th April 2019 for a resident of UK or Scotland.
  • One of the partners must be the basic rate tax payer i.e. 20% and earning less than £50,000 in UK or £43,430 in Scotland. If a partner is paying additional rate higher than 20% on high income bands, the couple is not eligible for Marriage Tax Allowance.
  • Both partners must be born after 6th April 1935. If any one of you has been born before 6Th April 1935, the couple as a whole will be eligible for Married Couple’s Allowance


The easiest way is to apply online. It will be the non-taxpayer partner or spouse who will have to apply. You will need one of following to prove your identity;

  • The last 4 digit of your account where all pensions, child benefits and tax credits are paid into.
  • The last 4 digit of your account that pays you interest.
  • Your P-60 specific details
  • Details of three most recent payslips
  • Passport number with expiry

You also need to know your NI Number as well as your partner’s or spouse’s NI Number. The recipient partner will have a changed tax code. Your unearned personal allowance will keep on transferring to your partner or spouse until and unless there is a change in circumstances. You do not need to apply each year; applying once is enough.

Any change of circumstances, like death, divorce or change in pay scales must be reported to HMRC on their Income Tax helpline.

Acceptance of Marriage Tax Allowance Scheme for your couple will be communicated in email or by post.


It has been criticized that Marriage Tax Allowance is discriminatory towards people who are not married. To be honest, yes it is. But this is a government policy that aims to uphold the institution of marriage. The UK monarchy believes in sanctity of marriage and upholds the view that marriage provides stable foundation for upbringing of future generations. In recent years, it has accepted civil partnership as equivalent of marriage and rewards the commitment being made.

Happy or Not, Marriage Tax Allowance has been aimed to benefit only the couples that are married or in civil partnership.

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