Two million married couples miss out on £1.3m tax break: How to claim

Published by Rachel Lacey on 23 September 2017.
Last updated on 12 October 2017

Two million married couples miss out on £1.3bn tax break: How to claim

Married couples are missing out on £1.3 million in unclaimed tax breaks, according to a freedom of information request from Royal London.

HMRC has admitted that as many as two million married couples and couples in civil partnerships are failing to claim the ‘marriage allowance’, which allows those who earn £11,500 or less a year to transfer £1,250 of their personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner if they earn between £11,501 and £45,000 (£43,000 in Scotland) each year.  

This can cut your joint income tax bill by up to £230 each year.

The marriage allowance has been available since April 2015, and couples that are able to back date claims for three tax years would be able to save as much as £662 in tax, says Royal London.

When the policy was launched, HMRC estimated that 4.2 million couples would benefit, but so far only 2.2 million have claimed.

Commenting on the revelation, Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London says: “The government has created a tax break specifically designed to benefit married couples and civil partners, but the take-up of the new allowance is shockingly low. Even in its third year of operation, around two million couples who could benefit from the marriage allowance are not doing so.  

“When family finances are so tight, I would encourage every married couple to check whether they might be eligible, including for the last two years, as they could qualify for a useful lump sum as well as a reduction in their ongoing tax bill.”

How to claim the marriage tax allowance

To claim the marriage tax allowance, eligible couples need to apply online via Gov.uk.

The allowance will continue to be paid until either of you cancel it or your circumstances change.

You can apply via the same link above for claims to be backdated if necessary.

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I meet the criteria but my

I meet the criteria but my husband earns over £45k because of overtime that he works. It seems, yet again, that the harder you try to earn enough money to live comfortably the more you're penalised. I recently had 3 months out of work but because I draw a very small monthly pension my Job Seekers Allowance was reduced: Another good example of how working hard reaps no benefit.
We have paid into 'the system', between us, for over 70 years so we've educated other people's children, paid other people's benefits, kept people in prison. We've paid for Tim Peake to go into space and for the London Olympics. We've contributed to flood victims, overseas aid and, probably most contentious, for government administration, for a government that twists the knife at every possible opportunity. I have a chronic back problem and was so looking forward to retirement on my 60th birthday but I have to struggle on for another 7 years, but someone has to pay for kids to stay in school for an extra 2 years, guess that'll be us too.