Benefits, tax and pensions

The information in this guide was last updated on 21/04/2017

Marriage and civil partnership can bring some practical financial advantages. Although it’s not the most romantic consideration, it’s good to be aware of how getting married can affect your money now and in the future.

Married Couples Allowance

This is a tax refund which depends on the income of the higher earner. (For couples married before 2005, it’s worked out according to the husband’s income.) 

You can get Married Couples Allowance if you're married or in a civil partnership, live together, and either of you was born before 6 April 1935. Go to GOV.UK Married Couple's Allowance for more information.

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Marriage can also benefit you if you have a final salary pension. Not many companies offer these nowadays, but if you've been working for a while (and especially if you're in the public sector) you may have a pension that pays a proportion of your annual salary every year. If you’re married, your spouse could continue to receive the pension amount after you die. But some pension schemes won’t pay out if your partner wasn’t married or in a civil partnership with you.

It's also worth contacting any pension schemes you have, and letting them know who you would like to nominate to receive benefits after you die. Putting plans in place can speed things up for your partner.

Inheritance tax

When a single person dies, the most they can leave someone without paying inheritance tax is determined by inheritance tax thresholds set by the government.

However, if you’re married or in a civil partnership, usually all of your assets can be passed to your partner with no Inheritance Tax to pay.

If you have other beneficiaries to consider, you can find out more about the thresholds and taxes that apply at: GOV.UK Inheritance Tax.

Other Tax Advantages

You'll also have some tax advantages when it comes to interest on savings, and capital gains on assets and investments. Within a marriage or civil partnership, interest-earning assets can be transferred from the higher-earning partner to the lower-earning partner. This means if one of you pays tax at a lower rate or has some tax-free allowance available, as a pair you can make overall savings. There’s also no capital gains tax to pay when transferring assets between you, and you can combine your capital gains tax allowance so you can earn more before having to pay tax.

Your marriage or civil partnership is a good time to make or review your will. See our guide to estate planning.