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Is the Marriage Allowance Beneficial for You?

The marriage allowance doesn’t constitute a separate allowance. Instead, it involves transferring a portion of one spouse or civil partner’s personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner. This allowance differs from the married couple’s allowance, which only applies to couples with at least one partner born before 6 April 1935.

In the marriage allowance, one spouse or civil partner can transfer 10% of their personal allowance (rounded to the nearest £10) to their partner. However, this transfer isn’t allowed if the receiving partner pays tax at a higher or additional rate. For the 2023/24 tax year, the personal allowance stands at £12,570, making the marriage allowance £1,260.

marriage allowance

Couples find the marriage allowance beneficial when one partner can’t fully use their personal allowance, and the other pays tax at the basic rate. By utilizing this allowance, couples can save up to £252 in tax for 2023/24 (£1,260 at 20%).

The transfer limit is fixed at £1,260. It’s not possible to transfer more of the personal allowance if it remains unused, or less if the unused amount is below £1,260. However, if the unused personal allowance is less than £1,260 and the transfer results in the couple paying less tax overall, it becomes advantageous. This might lead to some tax liability for the transferring partner.

Claiming the marriage allowance reduces the personal allowance of the transferring spouse or civil partner by £1,260 to £11,310, while increasing the recipient’s personal allowance to £13,830.

Couples who receive the married couple’s allowance, generally older couples, are ineligible for the marriage allowance.

Making a claim

claim online

You can make a claim for the marriage allowance online by visiting on the website. This claim is valid for the current tax year, as well as for 2019/20 and any later tax years for which you and your partner were eligible. Once made, the claim continues for subsequent tax years until you cancel it, which you can also do online.

Alternatively, you can claim the allowance through Self Assessment or by completing and sending the marriage allowance form MATCF, available at, to the address listed on the form.

Example 1

Alex and Anna, a married couple, have a unique financial situation in 2023/24. Alex, who earns £30,000 a year, and Anna, who looks after their young daughter and has no income, decide to claim the marriage allowance. Consequently, this claim increases Alex’s personal allowance by £1,260, which results in a £252 reduction in his tax payment.

Example 2

Jake and John, in a civil partnership, have different income levels in 2023/24. Jake, who works part-time while studying, earns £12,000, and John has an income of £40,000. Jake can only utilize £12,000 of his personal allowance, leaving £570 unused. Despite not being able to transfer this exact amount to John, claiming the marriage allowance is still beneficial for them.

By making the claim, Jake’s personal allowance reduces by £1,260 to £11,310. Consequently, his income now exceeds his reduced personal allowance by £690, resulting in a tax liability of £138 (£690 at 20%). On the other hand, John’s personal allowance increases by £1,260, leading to a £252 reduction in his tax.

Overall, even though Jake incurs a small tax liability, the couple collectively reduces their tax bill by £114 (£252 minus £138) by claiming the marriage allowance.

If you want more information, reach out to our team of expert accountants at Count.

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