Majority fail to sign up for marriage allowance tax break

HMRC has started the year with a renewed appeal for taxpayers to make use of the marriage allowance, after its own data showed that only around a quarter of those eligible have claimed the tax break, which is worth up to £220 a year

Since the marriage allowance was introduced by the old Coalition government nearly two years ago, only one in four couples have signed up for the tax break.

Latest HMRC statistics show that around 1.3m couples across the UK have claimed the marriage allowance, which was first introduced in April 2015, but this is a fraction of the estimated 4.2m married and civil partner couples eligible for the tax break.

In a bid to boost take up, HMRC is now urging couples to give their finances a New Year makeover, pointing out that since the start of the new tax year in April couples can backdate their allowance and boost their payment up to £432.

Taxpayers can apply for the marriage allowance via an online form at any stage in the tax year, and still receive the full entitlement. It allows a spouse or civil partner who earns less than their personal allowance to transfer £1,100 of it to their partner – as long as their partner does not pay more than the basic rate of income tax. Couples have four years to claim their backdated allowance.

Jane Ellison, financial secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘For the more than four million eligible married and civil partner couples, the marriage allowance could be a welcome financial boost. What better time than the new year to claim?’

Further details about the Marriage Allowance are available on the HMRC website.

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