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Marriage allowance – is it worth it?

Marriage allowance – is it worth it?
Friday, September 29, 2017

"Two million couples lose £662 windfall by failing to claim marriage tax break", The Telegraph newspaper reported last week. Families are missing out to the collective tune of £1.3bn, according to HMRC.


“The take-up of the new allowance is shockingly low. Even in its third year of operation, around two million couples who could benefit from the marriage allowance are not doing so. When family finances are so tight, I would encourage every married couple to check whether they might be eligible, including for the past two years, as they could qualify for a useful lump sum as well as a reduction in their ongoing tax bill,” Royal London insurance director Steve Webb was quoted.


Is this the disaster it sounds though? As the vast majority of people who read the Panthera blogs are self-employed directors, is this something you should jump at? Or is it time you re-arranged your tax affairs to give yourself every possible advantage.


Tory Wagg, Panthera director, explains…


“There’s two types of marriage allowance”


“If you’re married or you’re in a civil partnership, you can claim either the Married Couple’s Allowance or the Marriage Allowance.


“You’re only eligible for the Married Couple’s Allowance if you or your partner was born before 6th April 1935. The Married Couple’s Allowance reduces your HMRC bill by between £326 and £844.50 a year.


“What about if you were born after that date? Then, it’s Marriage Allowance you need to apply for.


“The Marriage Allowance gives you the option to transfer £1,150 of your personal allowance to your other half. That’s only if you earn less than £11,500 and you partner earns more, limited to £45,000 per annum (or £43,000 a year in Scotland).”


“If you want to apply for Marriage Allowance, it’s easy to do so.” (Editor - just click here).


“Don’t be so quick though. There’s more out there for you. Lots more.”


“£230 is not a lot of money. It’s not hot tub in the garden money. It’s barely paddling pool for the little ones money. It’s OK but it’s not great.


 “If you have a limited company and your other half is NOT a shareholder but plays an active role in the business, as soon as you’ve finished reading this article, please call the Panthera team because there are some very strong arguments for you to restructure your affairs.

“The good news is that, if you do restructure, the cost is minimal and the tax savings over the year could mount to more than £16,100.”


“When both of you are shareholders and employees/directors, the big things get doubled.”


“If your limited company has you and your other half are shareholders and directors/employees of the company, this is what you get:


“• £11,500 personal tax allowance and

• £5,000 dividend tax allowance every year.


“That means you can legitimately bring into your household £33,000 worth of income with no income tax, no dividend tax, and only a tiny bit of National Insurance Employees’ Contribution


“If there’s one than more of you in the business too, you can claim the Employment Allowance.


“The Employment Allowance offers your business savings of up to £3,000 a year in secondary Class 1 National Insurance on your payroll. 


“If Employment Allowance is available to you, it’s best to pay yourself right up to the £11,500 personal allowance limit. You’ll personally pay £400.32 in employee’s National Insurance. Because you’re paying it to yourself as salary, you can deduct it and the subsequent National Insurance Employer’s Contribution reducing your firm’s profitability by £633.84 meaning lower corporation tax.


“Better still, assuming you haven’t used up your Employment Allowance only anything else, National Insurance Employer’s Contributions would be paid for by the Employment Allowance.


(Editor’s note and Panthera tip – you and your spouse or civil partner do actually have to be working for the business in some capacity. If HMRC rule that you’re not, your personal and corporate taxes will likely be reassessed and you could end up with a large bill)


“If the Employment Allowance is not available for you, it’ll be better and less expensive pay yourself in dividends and use up any remaining allowance, paying yourself a salary of £8,164. This is because the 19% corporation tax you pay on your profits is less costly than paying employers’ and employees’ National Insurance (12% + 13.8%).”


(Editor’s note and Panthera tip – the Employment Allowance is not available to companies with only one member of staff)


Get in touch and let’s bring your tax down


We’re Panthera accountants and our core reason for being is to save our clients as much tax and hassle as possible.


If you’d like to speak with us about some of the issues raised in this piece surrounding making your spouse or civil partner a shareholder and employee/director, please get in touch with the team on 01235 768 561 or email

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For us, there is nothing better than a happy customer. Here are just a few that let us know how much we mean to them.

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We found Panthera via our search for a Xero expert. We knew the software we wanted to use, and needed a forward-thinking accountancy partner who could get us up and running, and teach us the ropes moving forward. Tory and her team have always been on hand to answer our questions, and help us to grow as a business, particularly during periods of big change, such as becoming VAT registered. They are always on hand to alleviate any concerns and help to keep our records in order, which makes our year-end accounts an absolute breeze! Being based in Bristol, our relationship is entirely email based, alongside one consolidation meeting at year end - this keeps things simple, efficient and most importantly, hassle-free.

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The whole team at Panthera are great! Working with them has been a huge support to my growing business. They help me to understand the numbers I need to know. They give me technology solutions like Xero so that I can process things quickly and have access to my own figures. They are quick to reply, highly knowledgeable, nothing is too much trouble and as well as making sure that everything is compliant and on time, they are enthusiastic, professional and fun to work with.

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Working with Tory and the team at Panthera is an absolute joy - they provide a first class service on every level; from simple Xero issues through to more complicated tax enquiries, they’re always on-hand to help me get it right. I’m certainly not their biggest customer, but I’m always made to feel like their most important one.

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I had been with Mr Dunn for 20 years when upon his death Panthera took over the business. They now play a bigger part in the running of my business, they do all the stuff that has to be done but I don't like doing ie book keeping, VAT, wages, and returns. They are always there to answer queries and sort out issues and make sure all Tax deadlines are met. Their costs are fair, service is great and I have and would highly recommend them.

Jonathan Morrison Wallingford Builders
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Professional, friendly and personal service.

Panthera Accounting have gone above and beyond the call of duty to guide and support our Company. They offer a professional, friendly and personal service that can take the stressful and sometimes frightening feelings out of running a business. They have guided us through the working of Xero and have offered “teaching sessions” on the day to day running of the accountancy package. Our only regret is that we didn’t join their team earlier.

Pippa Scott Scott's Commercial Services Limited
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Tory and her team have provided a friendly, approachable and helpful service from the start. They have delivered a quality service, above and beyond anything I could have expected. Panthera, with the help of the Xero package, have taken the stress, strain and confusion out of managing my company and personal accounts. I look forward to working with them for many years to come.

Sara Southey Bluestones Garden Design
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