Should there be a tax break for married couples?

tax breaks for married couples

Before the election, the Conservatives announced that they’d be introducing tax breaks for married couples. There were lots of whoops from the married lot and a lot of grumbling from the unmarried set. But now it’s been confirmed that the long awaited tax break will not be happening at next week’s budget. Is this right?

Just because the marriage tax break is not in the present budget, doesn’t mean that it’ll never happen. If rumours are to be believed, by 2015 partners might be able to transfer personal tax allowance to their partners cutting.

So how would it work?

Under the original marriage tax break plans, it was expected that one member of a married couple or civil partnership would be allowed to transfer up to £750 of their tax-free personal allowance to their partner (so reducing their partner’s tax bill).

A marriage tax break could be worth up to £150 a year for basic-rate taxpayers.

This would be worth up to £150 a year to basic-rate taxpayers.

So for example: let’s say that Mrs. Smith is a stay-at-home mum not earning anything at the moment. She would be able to transfer £750 worth of her tax free allowance to Mr. Smith reducing their overall household tax bill (as long as Mr. Smith’s income was below £44,000 a year). Now isn’t that neat?

Arguments worth considering

Those against the tax breaks say that it discriminates against unmarried couples who haven’t tied the knot. They see it as a Conservative Party ploy to play up to their core supporters. One concerned mum said: “Marriage is a choice – in this day and age it shouldn’t equal special privileges. Why does a married couple deserve it (tax break) more than a committed couple, raising children, who just happen not to have signed a bit of paper? Or a hard working tax-paying single person?”

Should married people pay less tax?

Those that argue for marriage tax breaks say that the obvious financial advantages aside, such sops encourage committed couples to stay together.

Bickering in Westminster

What do our politicians think of the tax break for married couples? Well, most Conservatives are all for it. David Cameron has already had a lot of grief from his party’s backbenchers over gay marriage, and would hope that a tax break for married couples would make both his own party members and Conservative Party voters happy.

On the other side, Coalition partner Nick Clegg from the Liberal Democrats disagrees. He feels that tax breaks for the married would “sting” the unmarried, who in any case tend to have higher living costs than married couples (all things being equal).

Are there any tax advantages of being married?

Yes. There are plenty of advantages already including no Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax in some cases.

What do you think? Should there should be a tax break for married couples?