What tax allowances am I entitled to?

Updated on 1 December 2019

Employment

Most tax allowances work by reducing your taxable income to reduce the amount of income tax you pay. This means that you can have a certain amount of taxable income each year, without paying tax. You only pay income tax on taxable income that is above your tax allowances.

You can find more information about tax allowances in the tax basics section.

You can check which allowances are included in your notice of coding by looking at your online Personal Tax Account that you can read about in our tax basics section.

Following the 2016 European Union (EU) membership referendum in the UK, on 29 March 2017 the UK provided notice to the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. At the time of writing (in March 2019), the date and terms of the UK’s departure from the EU have not yet been finalised. Therefore, please note that the guidance below reflects the law as it applies before the UK’s departure from the EU.

Am I eligible for tax allowances?

We explain who is eligible for UK tax allowances in the tax basics section.

You are normally only eligible for UK tax allowances if you are resident in the United Kingdom or if you are a citizen of an EEA country. You may also qualify under the terms of a Double Tax Agreement. You can find out more about this on page RRN4 of HMRC’s guidance notes for form SA109 at the Box 15 reference, available on GOV.UK.

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What is the personal allowance?

The personal allowance is a tax allowance that is available to most people in the UK. It reduces the amount of taxable income on which you pay tax.

There is more information on the basic personal allowance, including an example, in our tax basics section.

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What is blind person’s allowance?

Blind person's allowance (BPA) reduces the amount of taxable income that you have to pay tax on. If you are eligible for BPA, you are entitled to it in addition to the personal allowance.

There is more information on BPA including the eligibility criteria in the tax basics section.

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What is married couple’s allowance?

The married couple's allowance (MCA) does not reduce the amount of taxable income on which you pay tax. It is used to calculate an amount to reduce your tax bill instead.

You are only entitled to MCA if you are married or in a civil partnership and at least one of you was born before 6 April 1935.

There is more information on MCA including examples in the pensioners section.

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What is the relief for maintenance payments?

You can find information on the relief for maintenance payments in our tax basics section.

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Can I transfer my allowances to my spouse or civil partner?

We are often asked if married couples or civil partners can transfer their tax allowances to their spouse or partner if they do not use them. Some allowances are transferable, but others are not.

Marriage allowance or transferable tax allowance

You can only transfer some of the personal allowance to your spouse or civil partner, if you meet certain conditions. This is known as the transferable tax allowance for married couples and civil partners or “marriage allowance”. 

There is more information about the marriage allowance in the tax basics section. Be careful because although this allowance reduces the personal allowance of the donor spouse or civil partner, it acts to reduce the tax bill of the spouse or civil partner who receives it: it is not strictly an allowance in the hands of the person who receives it.

Other allowances

You can transfer the BPA to your spouse or civil partner, if your income is too low to make use of it. For more information on transferring BPA, visit the tax basics section.

You can transfer the MCA to your spouse or civil partner, if your income is too low to make use of it. For more information on transferring MCA, visit the pensioners section.

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How does marriage separation affect my tax allowances?

For information on how marriage separation affects your tax allowances, look at our tax basics section.

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