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'My friends claimed £5,000 after I told them about the marriage tax allowance'

One MoneySaver has made it his mission to spread the word about the marriage tax allowance – and so far, his friends have managed to claim almost £5,000 between them.

Martyn Owen, pictured fourth from the left above, got in touch to say he'd helped eight couples to claim the allowance since he started telling his friends about it two years ago, netting them £4,800 in total.

The 64-year-old from Neath, South Wales says his friends have claimed around £600 each on average, and will carry on benefiting as they'll pay less in tax in future years. Some have spent the cash on holidays or new kitchen equipment – and Martyn says they've bought him a few pints to say thank you as well.

Until recently, Martyn and his wife weren't eligible to claim the allowance, but now Martyn's wife has retired, the couple plan to start claiming the allowance in the next tax year.

Martyn says he checks every week to read up on tips he's spotted in our email, and often also tells friends about the importance of saving into their pensions as well as the marriage tax allowance.

See our guide for full info on how to claim the marriage tax allowance.

'People are nervous about claiming – but it's simple'

Martyn started by telling friends at his rugby club's weekly quiz, and says they were easily convinced once they saw how simple it was to claim the marriage tax allowance.

He told us: "A lot of older people, especially, are nervous about claiming back tax, but you get more confidence when you see that other people have managed to do it.

"At first it took some nagging to get people to claim, but once one person had been sent a £600 cheque, people started asking me for the web address!

"Now I ask people to tell their other friends about the allowance too, so hopefully more people will be able to claim – we're entitled to it after all."

Martyn says he plans to carry on spreading the word about the marriage tax allowance, and has promised to update MoneySavingExpert when he's helped his friends claim £10,000.

What is the marriage tax allowance?

The marriage tax allowance lets a couple, who are married or in a civil partnership, transfer some of their personal allowance (the amount you can earn tax-free every year) between them.

To be eligible, one of you must be a non-taxpayer, earning less than the personal allowance – which is £11,850 for the 2018/19 tax year – and one of you must be a 20% basic-rate taxpayer.

If you are eligible, you could get £238 for the current tax year, and you can also backdate your claim to 2015/16, meaning you could receive a maximum of £900.

The non-taxpayer will need to apply through HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), and if your backdated claim's successful you'll be sent a cheque automatically. If you're claiming for the current tax year, your tax code will be adjusted so you pay less.

It's also worth noting that if the basic-rate taxpayer earns a smidgeon above the personal allowance and the non-taxpayer earns just below it, then it may not be beneficial. See our warning for more information.

See our Marriage Tax Allowance guide for full help claiming.

What does HMRC say?

A spokesperson for HMRC said: "Marriage allowance is a simple way for eligible couples to get more money back in their wallets.

"It's easy to claim online directly from HMRC and, if they haven't applied before, they could receive a lump sum of up to £900 by backdating their claim."

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