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The tax bonus 2m married couples haven’t claimed

Two and a half years ago a new tax break was introduced that entitled four million married couples and civil partners to an annual payment of over £200. Now in it's third year, eligible couples could be £663 better off. Yet it's been revealed that only half have claimed it. That’s a huge two million couples who haven’t claimed money they could be entitled to.

So who can get it, and how do they do it?

Our FAQs should answer all your questions, and hopefully earn you an extra couple of hundred pounds!

What is the Marriage Allowance?

We all get a personal tax allowance each financial year. In 2016/17 it's £11,500. This is the amount we can earn before any tax is due.

The Marriage Allowance – not to be confused with the Married Couples Allowance – lets married couples or those in a civil partnership transfer part of their personal tax allowance between them.

Who can get it?

One-half of the couple has to have an income of less than £11,500 a year.

The other half has to earn more than that but not more than £45,000 – this puts them in the basic tax rate. In Scotland this figure is £43,000.

You both need to be born after April 1935.

How it works

Since the lower-earning half of the couple won’t be paying tax on any of their income, they can transfer 10% - or £1,500 – to their partner’s personal tax allowance.

The higher earner then starts paying tax on income over £13,000 rather than earnings of more than £11,500.

How much you get

For this financial year, it equates to 20% of £1,150 which works out as £230 extra.

But it can also be backdated, so if you're eligible for previous years you'd be able to claim an extra £212 from 2015/16 and £220 for 2016/17. Previous year's payments are likely to come in a cheque.

The transfer does mean the lower earner reduces their personal allowance too. Only couples where the lower earner makes less than £10,350 will get the full £230. For every extra £100 they earn, the tax benefit reduces by £20.

How to get it

You need to apply, which you can do on the Marriage Allowance website. You’ll need both your National Insurance numbers and proof of your identity.

Once successful, you don’t need to do anything else. The higher earner will get the extra income through their payslip.

How long you get it for

The payments carry on each year without the need to reapply.

However, if one of you earns more money which then takes you beyond the earnings thresholds, or your situation chances such as getting divorced or one of you dies, you need to let HMRC know, and the payments will stop.

What if you’ve missed it?

You can still apply for the last couple of years, and eventually you’ll be able to backdate claims for up to four years.

What do you think?

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  • Natalie / 24 October 2017

    Would it apply if on maternity hence the annual salary is below the threshold for that period of time?

  • annemarie / 7 March 2016

    What if it's my husband that just earns?

  • Judith costello / 7 March 2016

    Does this apply if one person is retired but the other is still working?

  • Jacky Banks / 6 March 2016

    Does this work for pensioners who are not in work.

  • Dorota Nowacka / 6 March 2016

    Thanks. Very helpful info. Just done it. Very easy. It is not a lot, but 'every little helps' :)
    Can you tell me how I can backdate claims for up to 4 years, please? Should I write to them once after the first claim is done?

  • Andrew Maxwell / 6 March 2016

    Just what info you need explained simply hh

  • Patrick.Joseph. Coughlan / 21 February 2016

    I would urge anybody who is entitled to this tax break to apply, it is very easy and being a pensioner myself the cash is most welcome......don't delay