MARRIED couples could be entitled to a tax break worth more than £1,000 – as partners Andy Coley and Sophie Kirkham found out.
Andy, 47, and Sophie, 45, who live together in London, claimed back £1,256 in tax after realising they were eligible for marriage allowance.
Marriage allowance is available to couples who are married or in a civil partnership, where one person earns less than the personal allowance threshold of £12,750.
You can transfer £1,260 of your personal allowance to your partner, reducing their tax bill.
Andy, a motivational speaker, is a basic rate taxpayer, while Sophie, ahypnobirthing teacher and doula, earns below £12,570 – the personal allowance threshold.
In April, after browsing Sophie's Government Gateway account, the pair spotted a section about applying for marriage allowance – and they decided to take the plunge.
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Just two weeks later, the couple received a letter in the post saying they were eligible and entitled to a tax break of £1,256.
Andy told The Sun: "The application process was so quick and easy and it literally took seconds to do.
"It's nice to get the cash in a lump sum – it's like finding a savings account that we didn't know that we had.
"I would definitely urge anyone to check if they are eligible because you could make a nice saving."
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Andy and Sarah got £1,256 from HMRC by claiming for the current tax year and backdating the claim for five years.
Because they are both self-employed, the tax break means they will pay less money to HMRC on their Self Assessment tax bill.
But workers on Pay As You Earn contracts often get a cheque in the mail from HMRC.
The amount you can get backdated varies depending on the tax year you claim for.
The couple hopes to make the most of this saving by going on a summer holiday with their three children – Fred, 13, Megan, five, and Beatrice, three.
"I'm really glad we applied and I wish we had done it earlier", Andy said.
"We've been married for seven years so that means we've missed out on tax break for two years and we'll never be able to get that back."
Who is eligible for marriage allowance?
You can claim 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 £12,570)
- your partner pays income tax at the basic rate, which usually means their income is between £12,571 and £50,270 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.
You can backdate your claim to include any tax year since April 5, 2019, 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.
To work out how much you will get you can use the government's marriage allowance calculator.
How can I apply for marriage allowance?
You can apply for marriage allowance for free online through the government's website.
If both of you have no income other than your wages, then the person who earns the least should make the claim.
If either member of the couple gets other income, such as dividends or savings, you can call the Income Tax helpline to work out who should claim.
HMRC will then give the allowance you've transferred to your partner by changing their tax code or when they've sent their self-assessment tax return.
Bear in mind that it can take up to two months to change a tax code.
If your new Personal Allowance is lower than your income after you’ve made a claim, you might have to pay some income tax.
However, you might still benefit as a couple.
Can I backdate my marriage allowance claim?
You could claim back hundreds of pounds worth of tax, but you have to act fast.
For the current tax year, you can claim a tax break worth up to £252.
In addition to this year's allowance, you can also get it for the previous four tax years – currently 2019/20 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23.
The tax break was worth £250, £250, £252 and £252 during those years respectively, meaning you can get up to £1,242 in total.
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But you can only backdate it by four years.
Once you've claimed you won't need to apply again, but you should let HMRC know if you stop being eligible.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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