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From 6 January 2024, the main rate of class 1 National Insurance contributions (NIC) deducted from employees’ wages is reduced from 12% to 10%. From 6 April 2024, the main rate of self-employed class 4 NIC will reduce from 9% to 8% and class 2 NIC will no longer be due. Those with profits below £6,725 a year can continue to pay class 2 NIC to keep their entitlement to certain state benefits. Our guidance will be updated in full in spring 2024.

Updated on 6 April 2023

Blind person's allowance

Like the personal allowance, the blind person’s allowance is deducted from taxable income before income tax is calculated. It can reduce the amount of income tax you pay.

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Blind person's allowance

The blind person's allowance (BPA) reduces the amount of income on which tax is calculated at the relevant rates.

If you are eligible for BPA, you are entitled to it in addition to the personal allowance. However, if you are eligible for BPA, you must claim it – you do not receive it automatically.

The BPA for 2023/24 is £2,870.

Eligibility for blind person’s allowance

You do not have to be entirely without sight to claim the BPA, but you do have to meet one of the following criteria:

  • if you live in England and Wales, you are registered as severely sight impaired with a local authority in England and Wales;
    or
  • if you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, your sight must be so bad as to stop you performing any work for which eyesight is essential.

Entitlement to BPA does not depend on your age.

Unlike some other allowances, the amount of BPA to which you are entitled does not depend on your level of income. The BPA is not reduced where your income is more than a certain amount.

The English and Welsh system in more detail

An eye specialist can check your sight and, if appropriate, certify that you are severely sight impaired. 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, you may claim BPA. The full allowance is available in the year of registration.

If, in the previous tax year, you obtained evidence of severe sight impairment on which the registration will be eventually made, but you only registered the following tax year, you can claim the relief for both years.

Claiming blind person’s allowance

If you are entitled to BPA, you must tell HMRC about it to make a claim. You can find out how to contact them about BPA on GOV.UK.

If both you and your spouse or civil partner are entitled to claim BPA, you can each claim it independently.

Transferring blind person’s allowance

If you do not have enough income to use any or all of the BPA yourself, you can claim to transfer it in full (or whatever is left of it) to your spouse or civil partner.

Your surplus BPA can then reduce the amount of taxable income on which your partner pays tax. If you are a non-taxpayer and your spouse or civil partner pays tax you can still transfer your BPA to them.

You can find contact details for HMRC and form 575(T) for transferring surplus BPA to your spouse or civil partner on GOV.UK.

You can see how transferring surplus BPA works in the example below.

Example: Paul – surplus blind person's allowance

Paul is married to Janet. Janet is employed and her salary is £19,450 for 2023/24.

Paul's income before allowances for 2023/24 is £6,000, which is much less than his personal allowance of £12,570.

Paul is eligible for and claims BPA, but the allowance is wholly surplus to his needs. He therefore claims to transfer the whole amount of £2,870 to Janet. This, together with her own personal allowance, reduces the income she has that is charged to tax for 2023/24. They can also claim the marriage allowance, so Paul gives up £1,260 of his personal allowance – this gives Janet a tax credit of £252 to set against her tax payable.

Janet's tax liability for 2023/24 is therefore:

 

£

Total taxable income

19,450

Minus: Janet's personal allowance

-12,570

Minus: Transfer of Paul's BPA

-2,870

Janet pays tax on

4,010

Her tax bill is therefore:

 

£4,010 x 20%
Minus: marriage allowance tax credit

802
-252

Tax due

550


Note: If Janet is not able to use all of the £252 tax credit that the marriage allowance gives her, it is wasted.

Blind person’s allowance and married couple’s allowance

If you are claiming both BPA and married couple’s allowance you cannot transfer the surplus of one allowance and not the other. You must transfer both allowances together. For more information and an example see our page Married couple’s allowance.

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