The government takes the view that around 2 million folks are paying over £200 too much tax every year, so over £400,000,000 is there waiting to be claimed. This money is part of the allocation to married couples and civil partnerships.

If you fit into one of these two categories and one partner is unemployed or earning less than the current annual allowance for each person, then up to ten percent of the annual allowance can be claimed by the tax paying partner.

There is another option. If the unemployed partner has not worked in earlier years, then a claim can be made for the tax allowance to be backdated to April 2015. Therefore, around £850 can be paid by HMRC to the working partner, backdating the allowance for up to 4 years. This is particularly meaningful to anyone who is on a pension and has a partner who is not employed.

The government has said that applying online is simple and can be done at www.gov.uk/apply-marriage-allowance. The non-taxpayer has to apply and will need their own and their partner’s national insurance numbers. They will also need a way to prove their identity (eg, the last four digits of the bank account that their child benefit, tax credits or pension is paid into, or their passport number and expiry date).

I know someone who claimed and got three years back pay! It is very simple to do. The number of non-claimers is around 50 percent of the total who are entitled. If you think you are eligible please apply. It only needs to be done once and the extra allowance will be given every year until a change happens that makes it no longer possible for you to claim.

Meanwhile, if you or your partner were born before 6 April 1935, you might benefit more (as a couple) by applying for the married couple’s allowance instead. This could reduce your tax bill by between £326 and £844.50 a year. You can claim this allowance if all the following apply to you: you are married or in a civil partnership; you are living with your spouse/civil partner; and one of you was born before 6 April 1935.

There is also an income tax helpline 0300 200 3300  which is available :-

Weekdays 8am to 8pm; Saturdays 8am to 4pm; Sundays 9am to 5pm.