Married couples are being urged to check if they are eligible for Marriage Allowance, which could save them up to £252 a year.

More than 2.1 million couples currently benefit from Marriage Allowance, but HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) estimates that thousands more couples are missing out because they don’t realise they may be eligible, particularly couples where one partner has retired, has given up work to take on caring responsibilities, or is unable to work due to a long-term health condition.   

Those earning less than £12,570 a year can transfer up to £1,260 of their Personal Allowance to their higher-earning partner, to reduce the amount of tax they pay.

They can backdate their claim to include any tax year up to 6 April 2018, which could be worth up to £1,242 in tax relief.

Couples can use the free Marriage Allowance calculator on GOV.UK to check if they are eligible for the tax relief.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s deputy chief executive and second permanent secretary, said: “We want every eligible couple to benefit from marriage allowance tax relief. Couples whose circumstances have changed – perhaps one of them has stopped working or taken a lower paid job – may not realise they are entitled to claim.

“It’s easy to find out what you may be due - search ‘Marriage Allowance calculator’ on GOV.UK to get started. By applying on GOV.UK, rather than through a third party, you get to keep 100% of the tax relief due.”

Who is eligible to claim marriage allowance?

These are some of the eligibility criteria for benefitting from Marriage Allowance:

  • they are married or in a civil partnership
  • they do not pay income tax, or their income is below the Personal Allowance of £12,570 
  • their partner pays income tax at the basic rate – which typically means their income is between £12,571 and £50,270

You cannot claim Marriage Allowance if you are living together but you are not married or in a civil partnership.

For those who live in Scotland, your partner must pay the starter, basic or intermediate rate, which usually means their income is between £12,571 and £43,662.

It will not affect your application for Marriage Allowance if you or your partner are currently receiving a pension, or live abroad, providing you get a Personal Allowance.

Those who are eligible can apply at GOV.UK for free and keep 100% of their claim.

Successful claims will result in a reduction in the amount of tax paid by the higher-earning partner. 

Marriage Allowance can be cancelled on GOV.UK if a couple’s circumstances change.