Teething trouble for the Marriage Allowance

Teething trouble for the Marriage Allowance

If your income is £10,600 or less in the 2015 to 2016 tax year, you may be able to reduce your husband, wife or civil partner’s tax by up to £212.

The new Allowance will let you transfer some of your Personal Allowance to your partner. This is the amount of income people can get before paying tax.

You’ll be able to claim Marriage Allowance if all the following apply:

  • you’re married or in a civil partnership
  • your annual income is £10,600 or less, plus up to £5,000 of tax-free savings interest
  • your partner’s annual income is between £10,601 and £42,385
  • you were born on or after 6 April 1935

But according to recent media information it is claimed that thousands have missed out because of computer glitches.

Elderly and low-income families are among those said to have been unable to claim the £212 perk.

The problems have been blamed on a £25million computer system called Verify that has been asking claimants to produce documents they don’t have, leaving them utterly confused and forcing them to abandon the process.

There have also been lengthy delays in handling successful cases whilst a dedicated helpline had been delayed until September.

The Government said the measure aims to introduce “recognition of marriage into our tax system” and claimed the allowance, which was available from April 6, will save more than four million married couples and 15,000 civil partners up to £212 a year.

Applications to claim the allowance opened in February and couples were asked to register online.

But many assumed that a subsequent email asking them to give what appeared to be personal financial details were fraudulent.

They were then asked for details of their credit cards, mortgage, passport or a photo driving licence, which many older couples lack.

Other applicants were rejected because they lacked a mobile phone to receive a unique security code by text message.

And some who registered online have yet to hear from HMRC, it was claimed.

We spoke to an adviser from the charity Tax Help for Older People who told us they have had lots of calls about this allowance and the problems encountered in making a claim. HMRC are struggling to cope with the number of enquiries and the difficulties with the Verify system.

She confirmed that if you are patient the issues will be resolved and any claims can be backdated. It is now possible to write to the relevant tax office and shortly we will be able to make a telephone call rather than just communicate by email.

You can call their helpline on 0845 6013321, or visit www.taxvol.org.uk if you need help with tax problems, but they are confident that if you wait you will eventually be able to make your claim.