Married couple’s allowance

Produced by Tolley
  • (Updated for Budget 2021)
Married couple’s allowance

The following Personal Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Married couple’s allowance
  • Married couple’s allowance
  • Primary claimant
  • Living together
  • Residence requirements
  • Tax relief
  • Date of the marriage
  • Year of marriage
  • Year of death
  • Reduction of MCA
  • More...

The married couple’s allowance (MCA) is only available if one of the two spouses or civil partners was born before 6 April 1935. This means that one member of the couple must be at least 87 years old on 5 April 2022 to qualify for an allowance in the 2021/22 tax year.

There is a distinction in the legislation between couples that married before 5 December 2005 and those that married or entered a civil partnership from this date.

Unlike the personal allowance, the MCA is a ‘tax reducer’, not a deduction from net income. Also, MCA can be transferred between spouses / civil partners, although the amount of the allowance is always calculated by reference to the primary claimant.

The MCA is reduced where:

  1. the marriage / civil partnership took place in the tax year, or

  2. the primary claimant’s ‘adjusted net income’ exceeds £30,400 for 2021/22 (£30,200 for 2020/21)

The commentary in this guidance note applies equally to those in civil partnership as it does to those who are married. For simplicity, the text refers to ‘spouse’, ‘married couples’ and ‘marriage’, but this should be read as ‘spouse or civil partner’, etc.

This guidance note does not discuss the ‘transferable tax allowance’ (also known as the ‘marriage allowance’) which came into effect from 6 April 2015. This is because the transfer relates to the personal allowance and if a claim for the MCA is made for the tax year then the transferable tax allowance is not available. For more information, see the Transferable tax allowance guidance note.

For married couples where one person was born before 6 April 1935, the maximum MCA is £9,125 for 2021/22 (£9,075 for 2020/21).

To qualify for the allowance, all the following conditions must be met:

  1. one member of the couple must have been born before 6 April 1935

  2. the couple is married and living together for at least part of the tax year

  3. the primary claimant meets the residence requirements in ITA

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