Married couple's allowance is available where one member of the married couple or civil partnership was born before 6 April 1935. Unlike other personal allowances, the married couple's allowance is given by way of a tax reduction of the allowance at 10% at Step 6 of the income tax computation. See E1.101B and E1.102.
In 2021/22 the maximum married couple's allowance is £9,125, although this may be reduced to the minimum amount of £3,530 if the primary claimant's income exceeds the income limit1. The allowances for earlier years are given in T6.108 and T6.110.
Note that 'primary claimant' is not a term used in the legislation, but is useful in terms of aiding understanding of the provisions and is used in the commentary below.
The commentary below discusses the situations in which all or part of the married couple's allowance can be transferred to the other spouse or civil partner. Note that, for simplicity, 'spouse' is used below as a collective term and should be read as 'spouse or civil partner'.
For the conditions that must be met for the married couple's allowance to be available, how to determine the primary claimant, the mechanism of relief and the reduction to the allowance if the primary claimant's income exceeds the income limit, see E1.920. The commentary below assumes familiarity with the underlying principles of the married couple's allowance.