The Marriage Allowance (MA) is a prime example of the government’s veiled largesse – yes, you can claim the allowance, but we won’t tell you to claim.
The MA is targeted at couples where one partner in the marriage or civil partnership has spare personal allowance – income less than £11,500 2017-18 (£11,000 2016-17) – and the other partner is only a basic rate taxpayer.
The maximum that can be transferred is £1,150 2017-18 (£1,100 2016-17) and as this will only reduce income taxed at 20%, the maximum refund or reduction in tax available is £230 2017-18 (£220 2016-17).
The MA was introduced 5 April 2015, and it’s not too late to make a retrospective claim.
Couples need to make an online application and this will stay in place until revoked, or until the marriage (civil partnership ends).
A standard letter or email to clients who could apply would be well received. The cumulative cash value of the allowance is worth £662 (2015-16 to 2017-18), and once submitted, the MA will be given each year with no further action required.
The form acts as a filter to exclude couples where the allowance is not available.
Although this is not a huge fee-earner for firms, it would spread goodwill, which in some respects is a more valuable result.