How it works
Marriage Allowance lets you transfer £1,250 of your Personal Allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner.
This reduces their tax by up to £250 in the tax year (6 April to 5 April the next year).
This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).
To benefit as a couple, you (as the lower earner) must normally have an income below your Personal Allowance - this is usually £12,500.
You can calculate how much tax you could save as a couple. You should call the Income Tax helpline instead if you receive other income such as dividends, savings or benefits from your job. You can also call if you do not know what your taxable income is.
When you transfer some of your Personal Allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner you might have to pay more tax yourself, but you could still pay less as a couple.
Your income is £11,500 and your Personal Allowance is £12,500, so you do not pay tax.
Your partner’s income is £20,000 and their Personal Allowance is £12,500, so they pay tax on £7,500 (their ‘taxable income’). This means as a couple you are paying Income Tax on £7,500.
When you claim Marriage Allowance you transfer £1,250 of your Personal Allowance to your partner. Your Personal Allowance becomes £11,250 and your partner gets a ‘tax credit’ on £1,250 of their taxable income.
This means you will now pay tax on £250, but your partner will only pay tax on £6,250. As a couple you benefit, as you are only paying Income Tax on £6,500 rather than £7,500, which saves you £200 in tax.
Who can apply
You can benefit from Marriage Allowance if all the following apply:
- you’re married or in a civil partnership
- you do not pay Income Tax or your income is below your Personal Allowance (usually £12,500)
- your partner pays Income Tax at the basic rate, which usually means their income is between £12,501 and £50,000 before they receive Marriage Allowance
You cannot claim Marriage Allowance if you’re living together but you’re not married or in a civil partnership.
If you’re in Scotland, your partner must pay the starter, basic or intermediate rate, which usually means their income is between £12,501 and £43,430.
It will not affect your application for Marriage Allowance if you or your partner:
- are currently receiving a pension
- live abroad - as long as you get a Personal Allowance.
If you or your partner were born before 6 April 1935, you might benefit more as a couple by applying for Married Couple’s Allowance instead.
You cannot get Marriage Allowance and Married Couple’s Allowance at the same time.
Backdating your claim
You can backdate your claim to include any tax year since 5 April 2016 that you were eligible for Marriage Allowance.
Your partner’s tax bill will be reduced depending on the Personal Allowance rate for the years you’re backdating.
If your partner has died since 5 April 2016 you can still claim - phone the Income Tax helpline. If your partner was the lower earner, the person responsible for managing their tax affairs needs to phone.
Stopping Marriage Allowance
Your Personal Allowance will transfer automatically to your partner every year until you cancel Marriage Allowance - for example if your income changes or your relationship ends.