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Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

To love, honour, and claim the right allowance

08 November 2016

Marriage allowance. Working out the seating plan for the annual get together with the in-laws is complicated but there’s also the annual question of taxation to put a strain on wedded bliss. Let Springfords be your guidance counsellor.

There’s more than enough to be struggling with in married life. Think of houses, and jobs, and kids. Then there’s decorating, school runs, who has which side of the bed and executive powers over the remote control. So it’s hardly surprising that some things get over looked. Tax allowances for one.

In the pantheon of romantic gestures, it’s not exactly up there with: “I made your favourite for dinner, just the way you like it,” or “you know that weekend break you mentioned a while back - I’ve just booked it,” but “honey I claimed the marriage allowance,” could just be the thing for three million couples looking for that something extra to spice up their joyful coupling.

There used to be a rush on weddings in the last weeks of March and the first few days of April, as romance was overtaken by a desire to get the knot tied before the end of the tax year, and thereby qualify for the married couples allowance for the whole of the preceding twelve months. For many a couple, the walk down the aisle was underwritten by the chancellor of the day.

Well, that was then, this is now and, like all neglected relationships, things went a bit sour on that front. All that pre-nuptial largesse went the way that true love goes, as soon as the first load of dirty washing is left on the bedroom floor instead of being put away where it belongs (n.b. that means the laundry basket, not the bathtub).

Similarly to the path of true love, when everything seems smooth and uncomplicated at first, the question of taxation and marriage gets more convoluted and tied up in little rituals as time goes by. You’ve got to keep an eye on every little subtlety and change from day to day - just the way we at Springfords do with our lifelong soul mates at HMRC.

That’s why, like so many other tax changes you’ll hardly notice from day to day, we’re on top of something that’s getting beyond a huge number of couples up and down the country. It’s not the married couple’s allowance, but the very similarly named and very different marriage tax allowance, launched back in 2015, and something that could very well be to the advantage of the vast majority of married couples - if only they knew about it.

Far be it for us to say the tax authorities are keeping little secrets in our relationship, but they’ve hardly gone out of their way to proclaim their undying love for this little allowance. Maybe that’s why three in four eligible couples are missing out, and may not even know there’s an allowance at all.

The headline criteria says that married couples are eligible for the marriage tax allowance if one partner earns less than £11,000 a year and the other earns no more than £43,000. A quick check of your relative payslips should be enough to confirm whether or not you’re in line for a little bonus - something that could be anywhere between roughly £300 and £800 a year.

Of course, there are a few other criteria, so an even better idea would be to call us, and have our personal taxation team check out your status. Think of it as a kind of reaffirming your vows with Springfords, in a sort of perfectly acceptable ménage à trois, that excludes any unwelcome advances from the tax office. It should only take a minute, and it isn’t unfaithful at all.

We don’t have to love, nor honour the tax code, but here’s one line of it we’ll happily help you obey, and proclaim you husband, wife, and eligible allowance claimed.


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springfords blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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