HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has launched a new campaign aimed at encouraging more couples to apply for the marital tax break.
If one spouse in a marriage or civil partnership earns less than £11,000 per year, the minimal amount on which income tax is payable, they can transfer up to £1,100 of this tax-free income to their husband or wife, as long as the latter is a ‘basic rate; taxpayer, earning no more than £43,000 per year, This can cut the couple’s annual tax bill by £220 per year.
But take-up has been poor, with only one in six couples eligible for the discount actually taking advantage.
HMRC now hopes to encourage greater interest with an awareness campaign, highlighting the fact that as many as 2.9 million couples may be missing out. Only 1.3 million of the estimated 4.2 million couples who are eligible have applied for the transferable tax allowance, the department claims.
The campaign will attempt to raise awareness and enthusiasm by pointing out that claims can be backdated to the previous year, increasing the available tax discount to £432.
Ruth Owen is director general of personal tax at HMRC. She claimed:
“An extra £432 is a really helpful way to start 2017, especially after Christmas.”