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How Do I Claim a Marriage Allowance Refund?

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Apr 05, 2023
7 minutes read
  • Advice on claiming marriage tax allowance
  • What the HMRC marriage tax allowance comprises
  • How much you can receive when you transfer your marriage allowance

It’s believed that around 2.4 million couples miss out on the benefit of a marriage tax allowance, which entitles you to a tax saving every year. Since 2015, couples have been making use of this tax break through the marriage allowance. It can also be backdated, giving you a refund for up to the past four years, equalling £1,256.

This article will discuss what the HMRC marriage tax allowance is, how much you could be entitled to and how to go about claiming it. It will also look at what happens after you opt to transfer your marriage allowance to your partner.

Two rings on a white decorated wedding background

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What Is Marriage Allowance?

Everyone is entitled to a personal allowance of £12,570, which is what you can earn tax-free on an annual basis. The marriage tax allowance simply lets you transfer £1,260 of this to your husband, wife or civil partner if they earn more than you do. This effectively reduces the amount of tax the higher earner pays, giving you a tax break.

Qualifying Criteria to Transfer Marriage Allowance

In order to be able to transfer any of your personal allowance to your significant other, all of the following must apply:

  • You are married or in a civil partnership

  • One individual will have to be a non-taxpayer, i.e., earning less than £12,570 a year

  • The other individual must be paying the 20% basic rate of tax, i.e., earning less than £50,270

  • Both individuals were born after 6th April 1935

As long as one partner doesn’t pay tax and the other pays 20%, you will qualify for marriage tax allowance.

Can you still claim marriage allowance if you're in a civil partnership?

How Much Can I Receive?

For the current tax year, the marriage tax allowance equates to £252. While this is almost £1,000 away from the £1,256 mentioned earlier, it will add up if you’re able to backdate the claim. You can backdate the HMRC marriage tax allowance by up to four years, giving you slightly different amounts for each tax year.

The amounts you can receive if you transfer your marriage allowance for previous years are as follows:

  • 2023/2023 - £252

  • 2021/2022 - £252

  • 2020/2021 - £250

  • 2019/2020 - £250

Including the current tax year, backdating your claim for four years gives you the magic £1,256. If you backdate, this is usually paid as a lump sum. Once applied for, you will automatically receive the marriage tax allowance every year through a reduction in your tax bill.

How to Claim Marriage Tax Allowance

Querying Couple

Now that you know what the marriage allowance is and how much you can receive, the most important question is how to go about claiming it. You have a couple of different avenues available to you: claim on the government website or use a claims management company to process your marriage tax allowance claim on your behalf. Be aware that the person who doesn’t pay tax will have to apply for the marriage allowance.

Claim Through the Government Website

There are a few steps you’ll need to follow before you can claim marriage tax allowance yourself. The easiest and quickest way is to claim online.

  • You’ll need to register for the Government Gateway, or have your ID and password handy if you’ve previously signed up

  • You’ll also need both your National Insurance number and that of your partner

To register on the Government Gateway, you will need to confirm your identity, which requires two of the following documentation:

  • Valid UK passport

  • UK photo driving licence

  • A payslip from the last three months or a P60 for the last tax year

  • Details of a tax credit claim

  • Self Assessment tax return details

  • Credit record information

If you are unable to register for the Government Gateway, you can claim the marriage tax allowance through a Self Assessment or by writing to HMRC.

Claim Through a Claims Management Company

Claims Vector

If the above sounds like too much work or you’re unable to register on the government website, it could be worth your while to have a claims company handle the marriage tax allowance claim on your behalf. Since these kinds of companies specialise in managing claims throughout the year, they can deal with all the necessary paperwork and let you know how much you could be entitled to.

You can check your eligibility by clicking on the button at the bottom of the page and filling in your details. You can also use the form at the top of the page. A qualified and experienced third party will be in touch to help process your claim and deal with HMRC for you.

The top reasons for using a claims management company to process your marriage tax allowance are:

  • You don’t have the time to process the claim yourself

  • The companies are experienced in processing all types of claims

  • Can produce a result more quickly

What Happens Once A Marriage Tax Allowance Claim Has Been Made?

If you’ve made a claim for marriage tax allowance and have backdated it for the years that you qualify, you will generally receive up to £1,256 as a lump sum. If you apply before the end of the current tax year, you can make a claim on a financial year that will become otherwise ineligible to you, so there’s never a reason to delay your claim.

Luckily, once applied for, you do not have to reapply for the HMRC marriage tax allowance every subsequent tax year. The tax code for the higher earner will be updated or it will be updated when they next fill out a Self Assessment tax return (depending on whether they are self-employed or not). After you transfer your marriage allowance to your partner, it will remain on your record until you cancel it.

If you no longer wish to make use of the marriage tax allowance, as circumstances have changed and you’re both taxpayers, for example, you will have to contact HMRC and ask to cancel it. This will also be the same if you divorce or one of you passes away. In the instance where one of you dies, the marriage allowance will apply until the end of the tax year in which you qualified.

Further advantages can be found in 5 Marriage Tax Benefits in the UK.

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