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Tax relief for second earners

How tax relief for second earners works

If you're married or in a civil partnership and you're both in receipt of earned income, this increase in the exemption threshold is given against the second earner's income when the tax is calculated at the marginal rate.

The tax threshold is increased by whichever is the lower of:

  • £5,850 (for 2018)
  • an amount equal to the lower earner's earned income

2018 tax allowances and reliefs

Earned income includes:

  • employment income
  • self-employment income
  • casual earnings
  • pension income in persons own right
  • invalid care allowance paid by social security

It doesn't include:

  • income from any unearned sources (e.g. bank accounts and investments)
  • income from shareholder taxation

Second earners tax relief example

​Standard rate tax calculation
​Marginal rate tax calculation
​Spouse A salary
​£30,000
​Income
​£65,000
​Spouse B salary
​£35,000
​Less: exemption threshold
​£23,950
​Less: second earner's relief (Spouse A's income)
​£5,850
​Total deductions
​£29,800
​Taxable income
​£65,000
​Taxable income
​£35,200
​Tax at 20%
​£13,000
​Tax calculation at 26%
​£9,152
​Tax due is the lower calculation = £9,152



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