For most couples, the decision to get married boils down to two things – their love for each other and the amount of money they have saved up. Not all weddings cost the average £20,500 but let's face it, they usually don’t work out cheap.
That's why it makes sense to make the most of any tax breaks you can get after you're married or in a civil partnership – like the marriage tax allowance. There are around 3 million eligible married couples who are currently missing out on this tax break, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
To help you check whether you could get marriage tax allowance, we're going to take you through the rules and how much you could claim.
What is marriage tax allowance?
Marriage tax allowance – introduced in April 2015 – lets one half of a married couple transfer £1,100 of their Personal Allowance for their Income Tax to their husband, wife or civil partner if they earn more than them.
By doing this, the higher earner can save up to £220 that year in Income Tax. You can also backdate your claim to 6 April 2015, but you can only transfer the same amount each year.
Who can get it?
You can get marriage tax allowance if the following apply.
• You're married or in a civil partnership (living together doesn't count).
• One of you earns less than £11,000 (a non-taxpayer).
• The other person earns between £11,001 and £43,000 (a basic rate taxpayer).
• Both of you were born on or after 6 April 1935.
Keep in mind that you can still apply for marriage tax allowance if you or your partner get a pension or live abroad – as long as you receive a Personal Allowance for Income Tax.
How much can I claim?
This depends on whether you've ever claimed before. The marriage tax allowance started on 6 April 2015 and for the 2015-16 tax year, you could claim up to £212. For the current tax year, you can get up to £220.
If you've never claimed marriage tax allowance before, you can claim it now and get a total payment of £432.
How can I claim?
It's simple to apply for marriage tax allowance, it only takes a few minutes to fill in the application at HMRC. You'll need your National Insurance numbers for both of you, and one form of acceptable ID for the non-taxpayer.
You will only be able to apply for those years that you both meet the criteria. And remember, it's the non-taxpayer who must apply to transfer the allowance, not the taxpayer. If you have a problem doing it online, or would prefer to apply over the phone you can call 0300 200 3300.
Tell HMRC if you have a change of circumstances – for example, your income changes or you and your partner separate.