Blind Person’s Allowance

Source: HM Revenue & Customs | | 28/08/2019

The Blind Person’s Allowance is an extra amount of tax-free allowance made available to those who are eligible. The allowance for the current 2019-20 tax year is £2,450. If both spouses / civil partners are eligible, they will both get an allowance. An eligible claimant can transfer their allowance to their spouse or civil partner if they do not pay tax or cannot use all of the allowance.

The eligibility rules vary.

In England and Wales, you can claim Blind Person’s Allowance if both of the following apply:

  • you’re registered with your local council as blind or severely sight impaired,
  • you have a certificate that says you’re blind or severely sight impaired (or a similar document from your doctor).

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, you can claim Blind Person’s Allowance if both of the following apply:

  • you cannot do work for which eyesight is essential,
  • you have a certificate that says you’re blind or severely sight impaired (or a similar document from your doctor).

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), recently challenged a tax decision by HMRC that refused to transfer the allowance because one person in each couple was living in a care home. HMRC had said that their guidance only allows Blind Person's Allowance to be transferred where a couple is 'living together'.

The RNIB successfully challenged this decision on the grounds that 'living together' for Income Tax purposes includes couples where one of them is living in a care home. HMRC has also agreed that a 575 form to transfer the Blind Person’s Tax Allowance between spouses and civil partners will no longer be required.