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Tax perk to help married couples is going unclaimed

The marriage tax allowance which was introduced in April 2015 to incentivise marriage is going unclaimed by many. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has released new figures showing that less than a quarter of married couples who are eligible for the allowance are bothering to claim it.

In 2016/17, the allowance is worth £220, an amount which could really help the finances of so many couples in the UK. Many couples are also eligible to back-date their claim for last year which would then put their claim at £432 in total.

Despite a HMRC advertising campaign only 1 million couples of the 4.2m eligible have claimed. It is a shockingly low figure which highlights the issues around the public being unaware of benefits they are entitled to. A problem which has blighted many benefits and grants put together by the government over the years for a variety of different reasons.

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The marriage tax allowance allows one half of a married couple to transfer their tax-free allowance to their partner. However, one of the couple must not be earning more than £11,000, the current personal allowance in the UK; while the other must already be paying basic rate income tax.

Personal finance writer at MoneySavingExpert.com, Sam McFaul, spoke to the BBC about these new findings; “We don’t know the reason why so few couples have taken up this allowance, but the fact is, it’s a fairly quick and simple process and could save couples up to £430 – which can go a long way especially around this time of year,”

As a spokesman for HMRC said recently, it takes less than five minutes to apply for this allowance online. So what are you waiting for? To see if you are eligible for this allowance or to submit a claim, visit the gov.uk website.

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