More than 75 per cent of UK couples ‘not claiming’ marriage tax allowance

A new study has suggested that more than three quarters of UK couples are failing to take advantage of a useful tax perk.

Marriage tax allowance, which was first introduced in April 2015, allows couples who have tied the knot to transfer £1,100 of their individual tax-free allowance to their partner – assuming that one party is paying basic rate income tax and the other is earning less than £11,000 per year.

For the 2016/17 financial year, the incentive is worth £220 for the average married couple. However, eligible parties who act fast are entitled to back-date an allowance claim for 2015/16 – meaning that they should be able to claim £432.

Married couples who were born before 6 April 1935 could potentially benefit even further by applying for a separate scheme, Married Couple’s Allowance.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has said that, despite a relatively widespread advertising campaign, a surprisingly small number of UK couples have taken advantage of marriage tax allowance since it was first introduced.

Data suggests that only 1million of some 4.2m UK couples eligible for the scheme have issued a claim – despite the fact that HMRC insists it only takes ‘five minutes’ to apply for marriage tax allowance online.