Marriage tax break to launch in 2015

30 September 2013

Married spouses will be able to transfer up to £1,000 of their tax allowance to their spouse from April 2015, which could bring about a saving of £200 a year, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

Four million married couples - including civil partners - are set to benefit from the scheme, which sees a non-working spouse, or one who hasn't used up their full personal tax allowance able to transfer £1,000 of their allowance to their partner, as long as that person is a basic-rate taxpayer (earning less than £41,451 a year).  

Couples will have to apply do so online for the 2015/16 tax year and will receive the benefit by the summer of 2016.

Cameron said the transfer will particularly benefit stay-at-home mothers and women who worked part-time.

Explaining the scheme, he said: "From April 2015, if neither of you are higher- rate taxpayers, you will be able to transfer £1,000 of your tax-free allowance to your spouse.

"In effect, if you pay the basic rate of tax and your partner doesn't use all of their personal allowance, you'll be able to have some of it.

"Most couples who benefit will be £200 a year better off as a result."

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has welcomed the move. He said: "We welcome all support for married life and we're pleased that this initiative includes both married couples and those in civil partnerships."

However, the Labour party criticised the scheme. Rachel Reeves, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: "David Cameron's so-called marriage tax break won't even help two-thirds of married couples, let alone millions of people who are separated, widowed or divorced.

"He's so out of touch he thinks people will get married for £3.85 a week."

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