Married couple's allowance doesn't increase the amount of income you can receive before paying tax, but instead offers a restricted allowance which reduces your tax bill by 10% of said allowance
For example, if you received the minimum allowance of £3,220, you will be due £322 back in tax.
How it works
Married couple's allowance only applies if one or both partners were born before 6th April 1935. For married couples born after this date, you may be eligible for 'marriage allowance', which was introduced in April 2015.
For the 2015-16 tax year the maximum allowance is £8,355. This is based on your joint income and like with age-related allowance, if your income is above certain limits, your allowance is reduced or even removed.
If your income falls below the lower limit, then you'll be entitled to the full allowance. If your income level is between the lower and upper limits you will only be entitled to a portion of the allowance. The limits are somewhat dependant on age-band, and vary with each tax year. The recipient of the allowance is usually the husband, however in the case of civil partners, and anyone married after 5th December 2005, the allowance is awarded to the partner with the higher income. However if your tax bill is too low to use up all of your married couple's allowance, you can transfer the remaining amount to your partner. To do this, simply tick the relevant box on the form when processing your end of year tax-return.
Age of recipient
Age of partner
Lower limit 2015-16
Upper limit 2015-16
80 or over
66 - 79
66 - 79
80 or over
If you or your ex-partner were born before 6th April 1935, you can claim relief on any maintenance payments you make, assuming that they are being made under a legally binding agreement. The most you can claim on is £3,220, or the amount you've actually paid – whichever is the lower amount. Relief is given at a rate of 10% reduction in your annual tax bill, thus maximising reduction of £322 for the 2015-16 tax year.