Get married. It's a bargain.
Being as it is THAT day of the year, you know, the one where cute teddies, red underwear and roses all rise in price by approximately 1000%, we thought we would do some investigative work into the benefits of marriage. After all, there have to be some…
In the latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics, marriages in 2008 fell to just 232,990, the lowest figure since 1895. Of course, this probably comes as no surprise, but what was a little more unusual was a recent pairing between the UK’s Chief Rabbi and The Bishop of Chester.
No, not that type of pairing. A political pairing – less exciting, but also less offensive to the mind’s eye. Said Rabbi and Bishop appeared in the House of Commons last week, demanding Ministers increase the tax advantage of being married in a feeble attempt to combat the amorality of British society.
Far be it from me (happily married, or so he tells me) to comment, but surely trying to convince people to get married purely for the tax breaks is a bit, well, desperate? And although the good old married couple’s allowance is now only available if one or other party to the marriage is over 75 (and still alive) is the few hundred pounds a year tax credit really worth a lifetime of trouble and strife?
In fact, there are a number of tax breaks available to married couples, and most could be worth far more than the trifling income tax allowance that was. Married couples can transfer assets between each other free of capital gains tax or inheritance tax, and therefore use both spouses’ annual exempt amounts. Since 2009, spouses have also been able to make use of their erstwhile partner’s nil rate band for inheritance tax purposes, saving up to £130,000 in tax. Assuming, of course, you are rich enough to need more than one £325,000 nil rate band.
But still, in order to force more people into marriage we need more tax breaks. As the Chief Rabbi himself put it, without them “we will not have a big society." Bless.