The marriage allowance is £1,260 of the personal allowance which is available for transfer between spouses or civil partners. But this amount can only be transferred where the recipient is taxed at the basic rate (20%) or less (starter, basic or intermediate rates for Scottish-resident taxpayers).
The marriage allowance is given as a tax reducer in the hands of the recipient at 20%, so is worth £252 per year (£1,260 x 20%). This value is fixed until at least 6 April 2028, as the personal allowance has been frozen until that date by the current government.
The “claim” for the marriage allowance must be made by the person who is surrendering part of their personal allowance, which is counter intuitive as you are asking to give away part of your tax-free allowance. The person who receives the additional allowance doesn’t claim it, they just passively receive the extra tax benefit.
The individual who surrenders the marriage allowance must have some or all of their personal allowance unused, or have a zero-tax liability due to the operation of other allowances on top of their personal allowance.
The quickest way to apply for the marriage allowance is through your online personal tax account (www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account).
If you submit a self-assessment tax return you can make the claim for the marriage allowance on your tax return, but only for that tax year.
A third way to claim is to use the downloadable form: MATCF. This form can be used to apply for the marriage allowance for the current tax year and to back-date the claim for the four previous tax years, where the conditions applied.
Once a claim for the marriage allowance is accepted, it will be applied for all future tax years, leaving the surrendering spouse with a reduced personal allowance of £11,310. If the circumstances of either spouse/ civil partner change the claim for the marriage allowance must be cancelled.