Tax allowances reduce the level of income you pay tax on so you get some of your income tax free.
We explain briefly in this section how much the following allowances are and how they work.
Blind person's allowance
We also give some examples at the end.
You only receive tax allowances if you are resident in the United Kingdom or if you are a citizen of an EEA country.
If you meet the residency rule you will get a personal allowance no matter what your level of income. Different rules may apply however where you are not ‘domiciled’ in the UK and claim to use the ‘remittance basis’ of taxation. More information on this can be found in our Migrants section.
The personal allowance is £9,440 for 2013/14 for those born after 5 April 1948. All personal allowances can be reduced below the standard amount down to nothing if your income is over £100,000, but we aim this guidance at low-income taxpayers so do not cover those issues here.
You can see how allowances work to reduce the income you pay tax on in the example Cheng.
Higher allowances can be available for those born before 6 April 1948. These are known as 'age-related allowances'. More details can be found in our Pensioner section.
You can get more information about tax allowances in Tax and NIC rates.
Can I transfer my personal allowance to my spouse or civil partner?
We are often asked if married couples or civil partners can transfer their personal allowance to their spouse or partner if they do not use it.
The answer is no: ordinary personal allowances are not transferable.
However, special tax allowances have different rules. For example, the blind person's allowance (see below) can be transferred to a spouse or civil partner if it is surplus to the claimant's needs, because their income is too low to make use of it.
Back to the top
Blind person's allowance (BPA) is an allowance of £2,160 for 2013/14. It reduces the amount of income that you will pay tax on, and is given in addition to the personal allowance. You have it.
You do not have to be entirely without sight to claim the BPA, but you do have to meet one of the following criteria:
- You can claim if you are registered as blind with a local authority in England and Wales; or
- For those people living in Scotland/Northern Ireland your sight must be so bad as to stop you performing any work for which eyesight is essential.
The English and Welsh system in more detail
An eye specialist can check your sight and, if appropriate, certify that you are blind. You can ask your GP to refer you to an eye specialist.
Social Services should then contact you to see if you want to be added to the register, and if you do, then the date that the consultant signed your certification form is the date of registration.
Once you are registered, contact HMRC, as soon as possible and tell them that you want to claim BPA.
If in the previous tax year you obtained evidence of blindness on which the registration will be eventually made, but you only registered the following tax year, you can claim the relief for both years.
If both you and your husband or wife or civil partner are entitled to claim BPA you can each claim independently.
You can transfer any surplus BPA to your husband or wife or civil partner to reduce his or her tax. Again contact HMRC to claim to transfer it.
If you are a non-taxpayer and your spouse or civil partner pays tax you can still transfer your BPA to them.
You can see how transferring surplus blind person's allowance works in the example Paul.
Back to the top
Cheng - personal allowance - taxable income
Cheng is aged 45 has income of £12,940 for 2013/14. She is not married, is UK resident and domiciled and has no other income.
Cheng's taxable income will be:
Cheng pays tax on
Paul - surplus blind person's allowance (BPA)
Paul is aged 35 and is married to Janet aged 30. Janet works and her salary is £12,000 for 2013/14.
Paul's income before allowances for 2013/14 is £4,500, which is much less than his personal allowance of £9,440. Paul claims BPA but it is wholly surplus to his needs. He therefore claims to transfer the whole amount of £2,160 to Janet. This reduces the income she has that is charged to tax for 2013/14 in addition to her own personal allowance.
Janet's taxable income for 2013/14 is therefore:
|Less: Transfer of Paul's BPA ||2,160|
Janet pays tax on
Back to the top