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HMRC announce improved service for accepting claims for the new marriage allowance
19/11/2015, by Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, Tax Articles - Income Tax
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HMRC will henceforth accept the transfer of personal allowances as prescribed by the new marriage allowance by phone as well as online.

Background

The marriage allowance allows one spouse or civil partner to give up part of their personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner. There are conditions to be satisfied as are noted below. Up till now it has only been possible to make this transfer of allowances online at www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance but now HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will accept such transfers by telephone via their general helpline number of 0300 200 3300.

The current tax year and conditions

For the current tax year, 2015/16, a spouse or civil partner can transfer £1,060 of their personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner provided that

  • neither of them pays tax at a rate higher than basic rate;
  • they are resident in the UK or are otherwise entitled to UK personal allowances; and
  • neither of them was born before 6 April 1935.

If you or your spouse or civil partner was born before 6 April 1935, you should claim the married couple’s allowance instead.

The marriage allowance can reduce a couple’s joint tax liability for the year by a maximum of £212. It is important to note that the person who needs to make the transfer either online or by telephone is the person who is giving up part of their allowance.

To transfer a personal allowance

If you are making the transfer, you will need certain information to hand:

  • your own and your partner’s National Insurance numbers (which you should find on any documents from HMRC or on any payslips issued by your employer or pension provider); and
  • a way to prove your identity that could be
    • the last 4 digits of the account that your child benefit, tax credits or pension is paid into
    • the last 4 digits of an account that pays you interest
    • details from your P60.

There is a calculator on GOV.UK that helps you decide whether such a claim would be advantageous for you.

If you cannot find your National Insurance number, you can request a copy of this from HMRC by completing form CA5403 or by telephoning 0300 200 3502. Note that HMRC will not tell you your National Insurance number over the telephone: it will be sent to you in writing.

When do I need to make the claim?

There is plenty of time to make the claim to transfer the allowance (up to 5 April 2020 for claims for the current tax year) but there can be advantages in making the claim early. Provided a valid claim is made before 5 April 2016, the claim will continue from year to year (instead of a separate claim having to be made in future years). As well as that, the earlier a claim is made, the quicker some of the cash advantage should be available. If you are not sure of your own or your spouse’s income, however, you can choose to make it later.

Useful links

PAYE form P60
Personal allowance transfer: benefit calculator
Form to obtain National Insurance number in writing

About The Author

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) is an initiative of the Chartered Institute of Taxation to give a voice to those who cannot afford to pay for tax advice. LITRG comprises tax specialists from professional practice and the voluntary sector, from publishing and from HM Revenue & Customs, together with people from a welfare benefits and social policy background. Visit www.litrg.org.uk for further information.
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