The marriage allowance came into force on 6 April 2015 and allows lower earning couples to share part of their personal tax-free allowance. The marriage allowance is available to married couples and those in a civil partnership where a spouse or civil partner doesn’t pay tax or doesn’t pay tax above the basic rate threshold for income tax.
The allowance allows the lower earning partner to transfer up to £1,150 (2016-17: £1,100) of their personal tax-free allowance to a spouse or civil partner. The marriage allowance can only be used when the recipient of the transfer doesn’t pay more than the basic 20% rate of income tax.
Couples that have not yet claimed the allowance can backdate their claim to 6 April 2015 if they meet the eligibility requirements. This could result in a saving of up to £662 for 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18. Couples have up to four years to backdate claims.
An application for the marriage allowance can be made online or by telephone. The application must be made by the non-taxpayer who is transferring their allowance. To benefit as a couple, the non-taxpayer needs to earn less than their partner and have an income of £11,000 or less.