Springfords LLP blog

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

For a singular couple, a plural relief

12 July 2018

With a rule book delivered on a pallet by a fork lift truck, the complexity of the British tax system is the stuff of legend …. With a plethora of obligations and reliefs, how do you keep on top of your affairs when you’re walking down the aisle?

It’s not often we hear from HMRC with a plea to pay less tax, but that’s the story over the little-used Marriage Allowance, a break worth £238 per annum, according to the authorities. The application, again according to the authorities, which has just been made available online, takes ten minutes.

Why then, you may ask, are there around a million married couples and civil partners who have yet to take on the offer of a job that has the equivalent of an hourly rate of £1428?

The answer, argue commentators, is that the allowance is awkward to claim. However, three-quarters of those eligible have already successfully applied. Even so, the criteria for the allowance does require some familiarity with tax bands and earnings allowances. The good news is that in tax terms, that familiarity doesn’t take a fork-lift of study to understand.

The Marriage Allowance is one of the more straightforward tax breaks available to UK tax payers. However, the crunch may be that, while the criteria are easy to calculate, it may be that many would-be applicants simply don’t fit the profile in the first place.

"This is a really important tax relief and reflects the social importance of marriages and civil partnerships,” said a Treasury statement, and they urge those that haven't yet managed to claim the money to do so right away.

Backing up those words, HMRC proposes a publicity campaign to encourage the reticent million to take up the outstanding break. While £238 per annum may not be enough in itself to reinforce the popularity of marriage, it is certainly enough to persuade you to look further into your tax affairs.

Decisions over tax allowances can be more complicated than this marriage one. It’s a simple case of saying: “I do.” However, when the complications are more binding than the vows you may plan to take with your betrothed, Springfords is there to be best man and bridesmaid all in one.

Making a decision over an allowance or a tax strategy can be a simple matter, but as part of your personal or business strategy, it would be good to speak to a counsellor before making a lasting commitment. Springfords might not be qualified to advise on your life partner, but we’re certainly ready to partner you for life, in terms of tax affairs.

About the Springfords blog

springfords blog

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

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