By Jamie Kelly, Tax Senior Manager, Armstrong Watson LLP

MILLIONS of couples who are entitled to claim the marriage tax allowance are missing out on a potential tax saving of up to £252 per annum.

Many couples are still unaware of this tax break for married couples and those in civil partnerships which came into effect in April 2015. More than 1.78 million already benefit from the allowance, but it is estimated that more than two million are missing out.

The Marriage Allowance currently lets you transfer £1,260 of your Personal Allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner. In order to benefit, one of you needs to earn less than £12,570 and the other must not be liable to income tax above the basic rate. Couples where one is a higher or additional rate taxpayer are not eligible for the allowance.

If you meet the conditions, then the partner earning less than £12,570 can transfer £1,260 of their Personal Allowance to their partner. Assuming that the transfer is made to someone who will fully use their own Personal Allowance and pay basic rate tax on at least £1,260 of their income, a tax saving of £252 will be made by them. You can only transfer a maximum of £1,260 even if your unused Personal Allowance is in excess of this amount.

If the unused amount is less than £1,260 there will still be an overall tax saving for the couple by making the transfer but not as much.

Once you have applied to transfer the allowance it will remain in force for future years until you cancel it or your circumstances change.

Claims can be backdated four years to include any tax year since April 5, 2019, potentially giving a tax saving of £990. If you are eligible and haven’t claimed before, you should consider claiming a tax refund from HMRC.

Couples who are living together but are not married or in a civil partnership are not able to claim.

You can apply online at or phone the HMRC helpline on 0300 200 3300.

If you’d like more information about our tax planning services, please get in touch with Jamie Kelly on 0808 144 5575 or email