Blind person’s allowance
The BPA for 2019/20 is £2,450.
If you are entitled to BPA, you must tell HMRC in order to claim it.
You do not have to be entirely without sight to claim the BPA, but you do have to meet one of the following criteria:
- you can claim if you are registered as blind 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.
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.
If both you and your spouse or civil partner are entitled to claim BPA, you can each claim it independently.
An eye specialist can check your sight and, if appropriate, certify that you are blind. 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, contact HMRC as soon as possible and tell them that you want to claim BPA.
If in the previous tax year you obtained evidence of blindness on which the registration will eventually be made, but you only registered the following tax year, you can claim the relief for both years.
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 the blind person's allowance (BPA) to your spouse or civil partner, if your income is too low to make use of it. Your surplus BPA can then reduce their taxable income for tax purposes, regardless of the rate of tax paid by your spouse or civil partner. If you are a non-taxpayer and your spouse or civil partner pays tax, you can still transfer your BPA to them. You can transfer the BPA by contacting HMRC or by completing form 575 and sending it to HMRC.
In addition to the transfer of unused BPA to your spouse or civil partner, for 2019/20, you can transfer £1,250 of the basic personal allowance to your spouse or civil partner, provided that neither you nor they do not pay income tax at the higher or additional rates. This transfer is called the marriage allowance. Note carefully that if you or your spouse were born before 6 April 1935 then you would be better off claiming the married couple’s allowance instead of the marriage allowance.
You can see how transferring surplus BPA works in the example Paul (below).
Paul - surplus blind person's allowance (BPA)
Paul, a student, was born in 1986; he is married to Janet, born in 1987. Janet works and her salary is £16,800 for 2019/20. The couple live in England.
Paul's income before allowances for 2019/20 is £4,500, which is much less than his personal allowance of £12,500.
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 £2,450 to Janet as well as using the marriage allowance to transfer some of his unused personal allowance to her. This, together with her own personal allowance, reduces the income she has that is charged to tax for 2019/20.
Janet's taxable income for 2019/20 is therefore:
|Less: personal allowance||
|Less: Transfer of Paul's BPA||2,450|
|Income tax due at 20%||370|
|Less: Tax reduction associated with transfer of Paul's personal allowance (£1,250 @ 20%)||250|
|Janet pays tax of||120|