Married couples missing out on £900 tax perk

One in four eligible couples are missing out on £900.

One million couples are missing out on the marriage allowance, according to new figures released by the government. This amounts to as many as one in four eligible couples.

This year, the allowance could save married couples £238 in tax, but those that are able to back date claims to April 2015 when the allowance was first introduced, could be able to claim as much as £900 in total.

The tax break is open to all married couples and those in a civil partnership where one is a basic rate tax payer and the other is a non-taxpayer. The allowance works by allowing the non-taxpayer to transfer £1,190 of their £11,850 personal allowance in the 2018/19 financial year to their tax-paying spouse, providing a saving in this tax year of £238.

Commenting on the figures, Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at financial provider Hargreaves Lansdown says: 'The marriage allowance was always a weird quirk in the tax system, designed to show how the government ‘valued commitment' within families, by introducing yet another level of complexity to tax rules.

'However, quirk or not, if you're eligible for a tax break, it's worth taking advantage of it. As time has gone on, the backdated sums have started to add up, so a million couples could spend a few minutes with an online form, and get up to £900 in their account in time for the summer holidays.'

The government estimates that around four million couples could be eligible for the marriage allowance, however this figure could increase dramatically following a recent ruling in the Supreme Court, which stated that all cohabitees should be entitled to enter a civil partnership, irrespective of their sexuality.

Rachael Griffin, financial planning expert at Old Mutual Wealth comments: 'It seems hard to credit that people would turn down free money, however, one million couples have yet to claim the hundreds due to them under the marriage allowance.

'That number could increase as civil partnerships are also eligible. With a recent Supreme Court ruling that civil partnerships are now for everyone, those amongst the 3.3 million UK cohabitees who could prefer a civil partnership to marriage may want to claim the financial benefits on offer.

'While £238 a year is not a huge sum , it could make all the difference to couples who find marriage unpalatable, but are struggling to make ends meet.'

To make a claim visit Gov.uk/marriage-allowance.

- This article was originally written by our sister website Moneywise.

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