Check you’re not missing out on any allowances

You can increase the amount of income you can have tax-free – your Personal Allowance – by claiming additional allowances.

Married Couple’s Allowance could help to reduce your tax bill if all the following apply:

  • you’re married or in a civil partnership
  • you’re living with your spouse or civil partner
  • one of you was born before 6 April 1935.

If you or your partner were born on or after 6 April 1935, you may be able to claim Marriage Allowance instead.

Marriage Allowance lets you transfer £1,260 of your Personal Allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner if you are on a low income and they earn more than you.

You can get Marriage Allowance if all the following apply:

  • you’re married or in a civil partnership
  • you don’t earn anything, or you earn less than £12,570
  • your partner pays Income Tax at the basic rate.

You can still apply for Marriage Allowance if you or your partner:

  • are currently receiving a pension
  • live abroad – as long as you get a Personal Allowance.

If you are registered blind or severely sight impaired, you can claim Blind Person’s Tax Allowance, which adds £2,520 to your Personal Allowance. Contact HMRC to find out how to apply.

You can transfer all your Personal Allowance to your partner if you don’t pay tax or can’t use all of it.

Reclaim any overpaid tax

If you have paid too much tax because too much was taken or you didn’t claim an allowance, make sure you claim it back. You won’t receive it automatically. 

Contact HMRC for help and ask for a tax return to be sent to you. You can also claim a tax refund online.

Check your tax code

Your tax code tells your employer or pension provider how much tax to take from your pay or pension. If it’s wrong, it could be costing you hundreds of pounds.

You can check your tax code from your P45, or online by using the Gov.uk Income Tax service. You can also use the service to tell HMRC if you think your tax code is wrong.

Complete your tax return and pay your tax due on time

Most people don’t have to fill in a tax return, as tax is usually automatically deducted from wages, pensions and savings. 

If you do have to fill in your own tax return, make sure you complete and send it on time. This is called a Self Assessment tax return. You can do this:

  • by post – the deadline to complete and send a paper return by post is 31 October. If you haven’t received the forms in the post, you can download them from Gov.uk
  • online – the deadline to complete and return your tax return online is 31 January. If it’s your first time filing your own tax return, or you didn’t send one in the last tax year, you’ll need to register for Self Assessment before you can use the online service.

If you're paying your own Self Assessment tax bill, you'll usually need to make two payments on account every year. You'll need to make the first payment by 31 January, following the end of the tax year, and make the second payment by 31 July.

You can be fined £100 or more, or be charged interest on late payments, if you miss the deadline to submit a tax return or pay your bill. Make sure to get help as soon as possible if you’re finding it difficult to complete your return. You should contact HMRC as soon as possible if you’ve missed your payment or are having trouble paying it on time.

You can appeal against a penalty if you have a reasonable excuse – for example, if you had an unexpected stay in hospital and couldn’t complete your tax return in time.  

If you’re having trouble making your tax payments due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you can get in touch with the HMRC coronavirus helpline.

Next steps

Tax Help for Older People provides free tax advice for people on lower incomes.

If you want to find out more about tax and how to apply for allowances, visit Gov.uk.

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