The Fixer: Marriage Allowance

Can my wife and I benefit from the new Marriage Allowance?

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Dear Fixer,
I think that my wife and I could take advantage of the new Marriage Allowance as she does not have a job.

However, I don't really understand how it works. Is it a tax break that we receive automatically or do we have to do something to claim it?

Your advice would be greatly appreciated as I don't want to miss out.

G Holden, Harrogate

Dear Mr Holden,

The new Marriage Allowance basically allows married couples - and those in civil partnerships - to transfer some of their tax-free personal allowance between them.

In cases such as yours, where one partner is not earning, this may allow you to reduce the amount of tax you pay.

That's because while both of you have a personal allowance of £10,600 for this tax year, the fact that your wife does not use all of hers means she can transfer £1,060 of this to you.

And as this bumps up your total tax-free allowance to £11,660, you can save £212 a year at the basic tax rate.

Not all couples can claim the Marriage Allowance though, even if only one of them works.

As it is aimed at basic rate taxpayers, for example, it will be of no use to you if you are a higher rate taxpayer earning more than £42,385 a year.

Both you and your wife must have also been born after April 6, 1935 to qualify.

If you are a basic rate taxpayer and you and your wife are within the right age range, you can register for the Marriage Allowance here.

The Fixer

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