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.
You can find more information about tax allowances in the tax essentials 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 a European Economic Area (EEA) country.
If you are resident in the UK, but not domiciled in the UK and you claim to use the ‘remittance basis’ of taxation, you may not be eligible for UK tax allowances. More information on residence and domicile can be found in our International students pages.
Following the 2016 European Union (EU) membership referendum in the UK, on 29 March 2017 the UK provided notice to the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. At the time of writing (in March 2019), the date and terms of the UK’s departure from the EU have not yet been finalised. Therefore, please note that the guidance below reflects the law as it applies before the UK’s departure from the EU.
The personal allowance is a tax allowance that is available to most people who are resident in the UK. It reduces the amount of taxable income on which you pay tax.
There is information on the basic personal allowance, including an example, in our tax essentials 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 the eligibility criteria for BPA in the tax essentials 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.
This is not a separate allowance, but part of the personal allowance of your spouse or civil partner that they have agreed may be transferred to you. You can read more about this in our tax essentials section and also below in the section Can I transfer my allowances to my spouse or partner?.
You can find information on the relief for maintenance payments in our tax essentials 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.
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 essentials 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.
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 BPA, visit the tax essentials 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 information on how marriage separation affects your tax allowances, look at our tax essentials section.
For more information on tax allowances, you may find the following sections of this website helpful:
- there is more information, including examples, on the personal allowance in the tax essentials section.
- there is more information, including examples, on the blind person’s allowance in the tax essentials 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 essentials section.