Income tax allowances and amounts
This information gives details of the different types of allowances and when they can be claimed.
Personal Allowance and Blind Person's Allowance are fixed amounts that are set against your income, allowing you to receive that much income free of tax in any one tax year. A tax year runs from 6 April one year to 5 April the following year. Marriage Allowance lets you give part of your Personal Allowance to your partner, and Married Couple's Allowance works as a deduction from your tax bill.
Most taxpayers living in the UK on a day-to-day basis are entitled to Personal Allowance. If you're married or in a civil partnership you may be able to claim Marriage Allowance or Married Couple's Allowance as well. Some taxpayers can also claim Blind Person's Allowance.
If you have paid some tax on your income, are entitled to an allowance and are not getting it, you should claim it from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by phoning the Taxes Helpline on 0300 200 3300. If you have not received all the allowances you are entitled to, you can make a backdated claim for them. However, there is a time limit for doing this. You can find more information about the time limit in Tax refunds.
In practice, if you receive earnings or an occupational pension, this income is taxed through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system. Depending on how you are paid, every payday you will get tax-free pay of either 1/52 of your Personal Allowance if you are paid weekly, or 1/12 of your personal allowance if you are paid monthly. After taking into account any other allowances or reliefs, the amount you earn or receive as pension above this level will be taxed. This means that allowances are spread equally over the year rather than you starting to pay tax only once earnings or pensions exceed the amounts of your allowances.
For more details about PAYE, see The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system.
The following tax allowances can be given:
- Personal Allowance
- Marriage Allowance, for couples where both members were born on or after 6 April 1935, depending on how much you both earn
- Married Couple’s Allowance, for couples where at least one member was born before 6 April 1935
- Blind Person’s Allowance
The Personal Allowance for the tax year 2019 to 2020 is £12,500.
The Personal Allowance goes down by £1 for every £2 that your adjusted net income is above £100,000. This means the allowance is zero if income is £125,000 or above.
Marriage Allowance - if you're married or in a civil partnership
If you and your partner were both born on or after 6 April 1935, you may be able to claim Marriage Allowance. If either of you were born before 6 April 1935, you're likely to get more from Married Couple's Allowance.
You can transfer £1,250 of your Personal Allowance to your spouse or civil partner if:
- your annual income is £12,500 or less
- your partner's income is between £12,500 and £50,000 (or between £12,501 and £43,430 in Scotland)
- you were born on or after 6 April 1935
This will reduce the amount of tax your partner has to pay. It will usually save them £238.
You can apply for Marriage Allowance on GOV.UK.
You earn £8,000 a year, and your Personal Allowance for tax year 2019 to 2020 is £12,500. You won't pay any income tax on what you earn.
Your partner also has personal allowance of £12,500, but earns £15,000 a year. They will usually pay 20% income tax on everything they earn over £12,500.
Transferring £1,250 of your personal allowance to them will bring their personal allowance up to £13,750 (£12,500 + £1,250). This means they won't pay income tax on their first £13,750 of earnings. This will reduce their income tax liability by £250.
Your personal allowance will be reduced to £11,250 (£12,500 minus the £1,250 you transferred to your partner). As you earn less than this, you still won't pay any income tax.
To claim Married Couple's Allowance, you must be living together as a married couple or as civil partners and at least one of you must have been born before 6 April 1935.
The rules about Married Couple’s Allowance depend on the date you married or became civil partners, as well as the age of the older partner:
- If you married before 5 December 2005, the husband gets the Married Couple’s Allowance and the amount depends on the husband's income and the age of the older partner.
- If you married or became civil partners on or after 5 December 2005, the partner with the higher income claims the Married Couple’s Allowance and the amount depends on the age of the older partner and the income of the partner with the higher income.
- If you married before 5 December 2005 you can choose to have the rules which came in on 5 December 2005 applied to you, so that the partner with the higher income gets the Married Couple’s Allowance. Contact HMRC to ask them about making the change.
You can apply to HMRC to share the minimum Married Couple's Allowance between you or, if you both agree, to transfer the minimum Married Couple's Allowance to your spouse or civil partner.
You will be entitled to a Personal Allowance as well as the Married Couple’s Allowance. You may also be entitled to a Blind Person’s Allowance.
You can find more information about the Married Couple’s Allowance, including the amount you could get on GOV.UK.
Blind Person's Allowance is an extra amount that can be set against set against your income, in addition to your Personal Allowance, allowing you to receive that much income free of tax in any one tax year.
In England and Wales, you can claim a Blind Person's Allowance for the whole tax year if you are registered blind with your local authority or if you become a registered blind person during the tax year. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, where there is no register, you must be unable to perform any work for which eyesight is essential. So you do not necessarily need to be completely blind to claim the allowance.
In England and Wales, HMRC can also give you the allowance in the tax year before you registered as a blind person, if you obtained the evidence needed for registration during that tax year. This may help you if there is any delay with registering as a blind person.
If you are married or have a civil partner and cannot use all of your Blind Person's Allowance, you can ask HMRC to transfer the unused part of the allowance to your spouse or civil partner. You can do this whether or not your spouse or civil partner is blind. Any surplus Married Couple's Allowance, if you qualify for it, must be transferred at the same time. If both of you are registered as blind, you can each receive the allowance.
You can find more information about Blind Person's Allowance on the GOV.UK website.
Blind Person’s Allowance amounts
This table gives details of Blind Person’s Allowance for the current tax year and the four years before that.
|2018/19 tax year|
|Blind Person’s Allowance||£2,160||£2,230||£2,290||£2,290||£2,320||£2,390|
Further help with tax problems
More information about tax allowances is available on the GOV.UK website.
Allowances for older people can be complex. Go to GOV.UK for more information on personal allowances and to work out whether you should be paying tax in retirement.
There is also information on tax for older people on the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group website.
If you are aged 60 or over and on a low income and have a problem with your tax allowances which you can't sort out with HMRC, you may wish to contact Tax Help for Older People. Their helpline number is 0845 601 3321 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm), and you can email them from their website. They may be able to arrange a home visit if your problem is better sorted out by a face-to-face meeting.