Finding love in your 80s doesn't have to be taxing

Octogenarians considering marriage this Valentine’s Day may be interested to know that tax breaks for older couples could save them up to £835.50 a year.

A little known tax break called the Married Couples Allowance applies if you are married or in a civil partnership, you are living with your spouse or civil partner and one of you was born before 6 April 1935.

In certain circumstances, couples can still claim Married Couple’s Allowance if they are unable to live with their spouse or civil partner, for example because of illness or old age. Couples can either claim for the allowance by completing the Married Couple’s Allowance section of their tax return or by contacting HMRC with details of their marriage or civil partnership ceremony and details of their spouse or partner and their date of birth.

The Married Couples Allowance should not be confused with the Marriage Allowance which came into effect on 6 April 2015. The new relief is designed to benefit low earning couples of any age where one spouse has insufficient income to use their personal allowance. 

Where couples meet the conditions the spouse with the unused allowance is able to transfer £1,060 of the allowance to their spouse by applying online. This tax break – available to both married couples and civil partners - is worth up to £212 in the current tax year.

Jackie Hall, Tax Partner at RSM said:

‘The Married Couples Allowance is a legacy of a bygone era, but it is still available to couples who meet the eligibility criteria. For some, this is quite a generous tax relief which could reduce their tax bill by between £322 and £835.50 a year, so it’s definitely worth applying for.

‘Married couples or civil partners who aren’t in their 80s or above may still be eligible for the marriage allowance which could save up to £212 – more than enough for a romantic meal for two on Valentine’s Day.’