Autumn Budget 2017: Tax break for married couples extended to widows and widowers

22 November 2017

The marriage allowance is to be extended to widows and widowers, it’s been revealed in today’s Budget document.

Under the marriage allowance, which launched in April 2015, those who earn £11,500 or less a year can transfer 10% (£1,150) 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.  

The government says the tax break reduces tax bills by up to £230 a year in 2017-18.

Claims can be backdated up to four years, although a recent freedom of information request by financial provider Royal London found that just 2.2 million of the 4.2 million estimated couples who would benefit have claimed.

However, currently, the legislation does not allow transfers of personal allowance on behalf of deceased spouses and civil partners, or from a surviving partner to a deceased partner.

But it’s been revealed today that from 29 November 2017, the government will allow claims in cases where a partner has died before the claim was made.

This will apply if the couple are married or in a civil partnership “for the whole or part of the tax year concerned” and when the application is made.

Claims will be able to be backdated by up to four years, and this change will be written into the Finance Bill 2017-18. 

How to claim the marriage tax allowance

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

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.


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

In the first paragraph it states the Marriage Allowance is £1,250 which is incorrect - it is £1,150.

In reply to by Michael Farragher (not verified)

Indeed you're right Michael - thank you for flagging that typo. It has now been corrected.

Best wishes,

Moneywise Helen

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