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Friday, April 3, 2020

Aberdeen accountancy firm urges couples to say ‘I do’ to Marriage Allowance

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AS VALENTINE’S DAY approaches, an Aberdeen accountancy firm is urging couples to ensure that they don’t miss out on tax breaks by saying I do…to the Marriage Allowance.

Married couples are legally entitled to claim back up to £250 a year from HMRC – yet it’s estimated that 700,000 couples eligible for the relief have not claimed their allowance.

And as married couples who haven’t yet signed up for the scheme could get back-dated allowances paid as a lump sum, provided they meet the criteria, it offers a welcome tax refund, says Andrew Laurie, tax manager at Hall Morrice.

Mr Laurie says: “Love is in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches, and there’s no better time to look at joining the 3.5 million plus couples that are already benefiting from Marriage Allowance since it was introduced in April 2015.

“It’s a great scheme, and the application process, via the HMRC website, is simple and straightforward. It’s not often that tax can be viewed as romantic, but couples are sure to love the tax break that Marriage Allowance offers.”

Couples who are married and those in civil partnerships can transfer up to £1,250 of personal allowance to their partner for 2019/20.

The allowance allows lower income workers to transfer their allowance to their husband, wife or civil partner, if their income is higher. This reduces their tax by up to £250 a year.

To benefit from Marriage Allowance the following conditions must apply.  You must be married or in a civil partnership and not paying Income tax or have an income below your Personal Allowance (usually £12,500). Your partner must pay tax at the basic or intermediate rate of tax (in Scotland, for most this means between £12,501 and £43,430).

Claims can be backdated to include any tax year since 5 April 2015 that a couple were eligible for Marriage Allowance.

There is no need to reapply for marriage allowance every year because it is automatically renewed. However, couples should notify HMRC if their circumstances change and they want to cancel it.

If your partner has died since 5 April 2015 you can still claim, and the best advice is to call Income Tax helpline for advice.  If your partner was the lower earner, the person responsible for managing their tax affairs should call.

It won’t affect your application for Marriage Allowance if you or your partner are currently receiving a pension or live abroad, provided you get a Personal Allowance.

Mr Laurie adds: “It’s simple and takes just a few minutes to apply online at HMRC, and the person with the lowest earnings should make the claim. What’s not to love about the prospect of getting a tax refund?”

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