Less than a quarter of couples eligible for marriage tax allowance are Less than a quarter of couples eligible for marriage tax allowance are actually claiming it, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Tied the knot recently? You’ll want to hear this. A marriage tax break was introduced on 6th April 2015, entitling couples like you to £212 in the first tax year and £220 in 2016/2017. You have four years to backdate your claim, but so far, you’re entitled to £432.
Out of the 4.2million couples eligible to the perk, less than 1million have actually claimed it. But if one of you is earning less than £11,000, you can transfer £1,060 of your tax-free allowance to your partner, who must be paying basic income tax.
It only takes a few minutes to claim online or over the phone, talking directly with HMRC’s customer service team. You’ll both need your National Insurance numbers and another form of ID, like your passport, handy to do it.
And once you’ve applied, your personal allowance will automatically transfer to your partner every year, until one of you cancels the marriage allowance or tells HMRC that your circumstances have changed – through divorce, death or, on a brighter note, because you’re earning enough to be in a higher tax threshold.
If you can get a little cash back just for walking down the aisle, you might wonder why so few couples have actually claimed it. After all, HMRC spent £2million launching the scheme with print, digital and radio ads.
Well, in the months after it was launched last year, technical faults at HMRC meant couples couldn’t complete an online test to prove their identity – which put some people off, although you could, and still can, call HMRC’s customer service team direct to apply for the marriage allowance.
The marriage tax allowance was also criticised for discriminating against people who aren’t married, but if you’re eligible, why wouldn’t you claim what’s yours? David Cameron said at the time that stable families were the bedrock of society, explaining that “Other countries recognise marriage in the tax system and it’s high time we did so again in Britain.”