Following reports that almost 4 million households could be missing out on the new tax break for married couples, HMRC has extended the ways to claim it. What are your options?
The marriage allowance was introduced in April 2015 and allows a spouse (or civil partner) to transfer 10% of their personal allowance (£10,600 in 2015/16) to their partner providing they earn less than the personal allowance and their partner does not pay higher rate tax (which starts on incomes above £42,385 for 2015/16). So the tax break is currently worth up to £212 (£1,060 x 20%).
When the new allowance was announced, the government said that 4.2 million couples would be eligible. However, according to HMRC figures, up to September 2015 only 165,000 taxpayers had actually claimed the allowance with about the same number in the process of making a claim. So that means that there are nearly 4 million eligible couples that haven’t claimed it yet. Are you one of them?
Up until now it had only been possible to apply for the allowance online at https://www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance but now HMRC will also accept claims by telephone by contacting it on its general helpline number 0300 200 3300. To be put through to the right person, applicants should state that they are calling about “marriage allowance”. Before calling, you should make sure that you have both yours and your spouse’s NI numbers. You will also need a way to prove your identity by providing either:
the last four digits of the bank account number that your child benefit, tax credits or state pension are paid into; or
the last four digits of a bank account that pays you interest; or
details from your P60.
The claim needs to be made by the spouse with the lower income. If you are unsure as to whether you qualify for this, please call the office on 01305 831742.