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Press Release: Tax campaigners hail today’s breakthrough on claims for marriage allowance by bereaved spouses

Published on 22 November 2017

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group has warmly welcomed today’s announcement that the Government will allow claims to the marriage allowance in cases where a partner has died before the claim is made, and that such claims can be backdated by up to four years provided all other conditions for the allowance are met. This implements a long-standing recommendation by the Group.

Anne Fairpo, chairman of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, said:

“This announcement corrects what has long been perceived as a harsh anomaly in the way marriage allowance claims are structured. As the existence of the allowance is not widely known, it often happens that the first time a couple hears about it is after one of them has died and the question of a marriage allowance claim arises during the administration of their estate. But by then it is too late, because up to now the law has provided that a couple must be married or in a civil partnership at the time of the claim. Today’s welcome change of heart by the Government will remove this obstacle, and the four-year backdating will enable couples who have been refused claims by the surviving spouse or civil partner to re-apply.”

The transferable marriage allowance permits the lower earning partner in a married couple or civil partnership to transfer 10% of their personal allowance to their partner, thereby reducing their tax bill by up to £230 a year in 2017/18. Today’s change will have effect on and after 29 November 2017.


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