Millions of UK couples are not claiming free money given by the government for being married

Fewer than a quarter of the 4.2 million couples eligible for marriage tax allowance are claiming it, according to a report by BBC News.

Only around 1 million couples are claiming the allowance, which is worth £220 ($270) this year.

The scheme was introduced by the Conservative government last year to promote marriage and traditional families. Those eligible for it can also claim retrospectively for last year, giving a total of £432, the BBC said.

According to HM Revenue and Customs, you qualify for marriage allowance if all the following apply:

  • you’re married or in a civil partnership
  • you don’t earn anything or your income is under £11,000
  • your partner’s income is between £11,001 and £43,000

It does not take long to sign up so if you fit the criteria, according to the government’s website.

Once accepted, the allowance will transfer automatically to your partner every year until one of you cancels the marriage allowance or you tell HMRC that your circumstances have changed because of divorce, death, or a wage hike that pushes you into a higher bracket.

“It’s free money, so worth checking,” said Sam McFaul, a writer at

“This is a government policy to reward the institution of marriage. It does it because it believes that provides a more stable family. The fact it’s a transfer from the non-taxpayer to an earner also indicates a concept of rewarding the perhaps more old-fashioned one parent stays at home-type set-up.”

NOW WATCH: Ken Rogoff explains why he’s been advocating to eliminate the $100 bill

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.