⚠️ We are currently updating our 2020/21 tax guidance across the website
What tax allowances am I entitled to?
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.
Note carefully, though, that some allowances work differently.
You can find more information about tax allowances in the tax basics section.
⚠️ The UK left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020 and entered a transitional period, currently due to end on 31 December 2020, during which EU law continues to apply in the UK. The UK’s relationship with the EU beyond the end of the transitional period has not yet been finalised. Please note that the guidance below reflects the law as it applied before the UK’s departure from the EU, and as it will continue to apply throughout the transitional period.
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. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, these rules may change for EEA citizens who are not resident in the UK. This will only happen after the transitional period has ended (due to occur 31 December 2020). You may also qualify for allowances 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.
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.
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.
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.
You can find information on the relief for maintenance payments in our tax basics section.
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.
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.
For information on how marriage separation affects your tax allowances, look at our tax basics section.