What tax allowances am I entitled to?

Updated on 9 September 2020

Self-employment

On this page, we look at tax allowances and what you may be entitled to.

Image of letters spelling tax allowance
(c) Shutterstock / Sohel Parvez Haque

What are tax allowances?

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, tax free. Additional support that you have received during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak such as the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme are not tax allowances.

You only pay income tax on taxable income that is above your tax allowances.

We explain who is eligible for UK 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.

What is the personal allowance?

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

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

What is the blind person’s allowance?

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

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

What is the 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 the 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 the MCA including examples in the pensioners section.

What is the relief for maintenance payments?

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

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”. Note that this is not an extra allowance – it is part of the personal allowance.

There is more information about the marriage allowance in the tax basics section.

Other allowances

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

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

How does marriage or civil partnership separation affect my tax allowances?

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

Other allowances: trading allowance and property allowance

If you have income from running a small business, or untaxed casual/miscellaneous income, you may be entitled to the trading allowance (also called the trading income allowance) of up to £1,000. This is in addition to any other tax allowances you are eligible for. Read about the trading allowance in more detail in our page What is the trading allowance? and trading allowance factsheet.


If you have income from property, including income from renting out a driveway or garage, for example, you may be entitled to the property allowance (also known as the property income allowance) of up to £1,000. This is in addition to any other tax allowances you are eligible for (but not rent-a-room relief). Read about the property allowance in more detail in our page How does the property allowance work?.

If you have some trading income and some property income you may be able to claim both allowances if you meet the criteria for each individual allowance.

Pay tax on self-employment income

Trading allowance

More information on self-employment
Am I employed, self-employed or neither?

What tax allowances am I entitled to?

How do I register for tax and National Insurance?

What is the trading allowance?

What business records should I keep?

How do I pay tax on self-employed income?

Working out profits, losses and capital allowances

What National Insurance do I pay if I am self-employed?

How do I work out my taxable profits?

What is the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)?

How do I prepare my accounts?

How do I work out my profits for universal credit?

What business expenses are allowable?

Do I have to pay VAT if I am self-employed?

Can I claim for pre-trade expenses?

What is Making Tax Digital for VAT?

What capital allowances can I claim?

Pensions and self-employment

What if I make a loss?

How do I repay my student loan if I am self-employed?

When do I make Self Assessment payments and file my tax return?

Penalties and enquiries

Share this page