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To think the married couple tax break is a waste of time

(117 Posts)
mpje Thu 11-Feb-16 07:47:48

Most people don't seem to understand it / don't claim it.

It will benefit well off the most as they are the ones that are most likely to have one unused tax allowance and for these people 200 odd extra a year isn't very much.

I think it should of just been used to raise the income tax threshold.

KayJBee Thu 11-Feb-16 07:53:31

Not really because it only applies to basic rate tax payers. If the high earner earns more than 42k, you don't qualify.

KayJBee Thu 11-Feb-16 07:58:18

I'd say most people don't claim it because they're not entitled to it. I would hazard a guess that most households where there is unused tax allowance are more likely to have a higher rate tax payer and therefore can't claim.

So few people are actually eligible, its not worth much at all. If the funds were to be diverted to raise the income tax thresholds, it would probably equate to only a tiny tiny raise.

Blu Thu 11-Feb-16 07:59:27

I see no reason why two employed, able bodied, child free people need or deserve this break just because they are married, any more than the same couple who are married.

Interesting that the state treats unmarried couples as if they were for the purposes of denying benefits , but does not recognise co-habitation for the purpose of awarding tax breaks.

I can only assume it is social engineering.

Bowserlovesmojitos Thu 11-Feb-16 08:01:14

Aside from financially being eligible it also disregards families who, for whatever reason, have decided marriage is not for them but are just as much a couple as those with a certificate and bit of jewellery.

BrieAndChilli Thu 11-Feb-16 08:03:06

We've claimed it, I work part time so don't use all my allowance, Dh isn't a high tax earner so 200 over the year although isn't a lot is one of the kids swimming lessons paid for or a trip to a theme park. Every little helps.

Amummyatlast Thu 11-Feb-16 08:04:05

I claim it. I probably don't need it, but my friend who also claims it definitely does.

PrettyBrightFireflies Thu 11-Feb-16 08:07:31

We use it to. Definitely not high income earners - I'm self employed, DH is on a very low wage.
£200 makes a huge difference to us - it pays the car insurance, without which, I couldn't work.

JizzyStradlin Thu 11-Feb-16 08:21:05

I'd be interested to hear why the well off are those most likely not to be using it, since higher rate taxpayers aren't eligible. And the income tax threshold is being raised anyway.

We're claiming it probably this once, as I expect to use my personal allowance in future but spent a lot of this tax year on SMP including the unpaid months thereafter. It's £200 which to us as a middle income family is worth having, so it wasn't a waste of time for us. It only takes five minutes to sort out, so that's a pretty lucrative rate! I don't need it as such, we wouldn't be out on the streets without it, but it will be helpful. £200 is always helpful isn't it! What I can understand, though, is people objecting to it on principle. Would've thought that was a stronger argument against it than the ones you make OP.

fay144 Thu 11-Feb-16 08:21:38

Totally agree with Blu.

IMO any tax break should be for parents, irrespective of marital status.

StealthPolarBear Thu 11-Feb-16 08:23:33

Fay but what about couples without children?

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Thu 11-Feb-16 08:26:07

I didn't know about this, how do you claim it?

jay55 Thu 11-Feb-16 08:26:24

My parents used as mums pension is low. I think it's unfair because costs are higher for single people.

Treats Thu 11-Feb-16 08:27:06

I'm glad it's benefitting some people here but I agree it's a waste of money. It's more that it doesn't achieve its goal - does anyone get married for a tax break? Will 'promoting marriage' through the tax system achieve more stable families? Right wingers say it's important to send a signal about the importance of marriage, but I doubt most people will think differently about marriage because of taxes.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Thu 11-Feb-16 08:30:34

I just assumed it was automatically applied to your tax code, never knew you had to claim it. Apparantly we're entitled to £322 a year. So 20 years of not claiming it I guess we've missed 6k!

honeysucklejasmine Thu 11-Feb-16 08:34:28

I looked in to this as I don't use my personal allowance. But I could only see something that required you to have been married in the 30s or something ridiculous.

Does anyone have a link, as I am obviously not very good at googling!

JizzyStradlin Thu 11-Feb-16 08:34:34

It will be interesting to see if anyone does get married for it. Logically, if you know that one party is going to leave at least £1k of their personal allowance unusued for more than a year or two and the other is a non-HRT payer, it makes financial sense. The cheapest weddings usually run to a couple of hundred quid. So if one of you is eg going to be a SAHP for 4 more years, the more lucrative decision is to get married.


StillDrSethHazlittMD Thu 11-Feb-16 08:35:26

Fay I'm with Stealth.

Why are parents automatically more worthy than non-parents?

Why are married couples automatically more worthy than couple who cohabit?

Why are couples automatically more worthy than single people?

Society is divisive enough on its own terms without the Government assisting.

BrieAndChilli Thu 11-Feb-16 08:36:26

It's only recently come into force so you wont have missed 20 years of it.
You babasically transfer up to 1000 of your tax allowance to your spouse.

PansyGiraffe Thu 11-Feb-16 08:37:48

Not 20 yes, only came in a year or two ago (although if you've been married that long you might have been entitled to the tail end of the old scheme, can't remember when that ended!)

PansyGiraffe Thu 11-Feb-16 08:38:05


JizzyStradlin Thu 11-Feb-16 08:40:23

People are mixing up two married couple tax breaks I think. The one that only applies to people born in the 30s or whatever it is has been around donkey's years. I think that's worth more also. The new one that's been introduced is for all married couples where one isn't using their personal allowance and one is a 20% taxpayer, and you get a max of about £200 I think. It only came in this year.

Treats Thu 11-Feb-16 08:40:36

I don't think that parents are 'more worthy' than non parents but they do have extra expenses which - ultimately - lead to a benefit for society as a whole. So there is an argument for providing more support through the tax system for parents. Especially as parenthood is the most likely reason why one half of the couple aren't using their tax allowance.

But I agree that prioritising married couples over unmarried couples or single people is divisive.

DrDreReturns Thu 11-Feb-16 08:43:00

Can you get it if one of you is working but earning between £10,601 and £42,385 and the other spouse does not work at all? Looking at the guidance it would appear not as it is applied to the lower earning person's tax code.

LurkingHusband Thu 11-Feb-16 08:43:36

There are 2 answers to the OP.

The first - just looking on the surface - is YANBU. This tax break is penny ante stuff. Just enough "to buy a box set each and not have to speak to each other for 6 months" grin.

The second - looking at what it represents is YABU. This tax break is doing exactly what the government - and David Cameron personally want it to do. Which is to reinforce the married=good/single [mum]=bad rhetoric that Thatcher was pumping out in the 1980s. (I've said elsewhere that we're seeing a "Torys greatest hits" government. A real 80s revival).

Same as the bedroom tax, which has fuck all to do with "austerity" but everything to do with "sending a message". The message being a variation on married=good/single [mums]=bad.

I'd be surprised if both these initiatives don't cost more than they save/deliver. But that's no "failure" of them. It's the cost of enforcing morality via the tax and benefits system. Which is one of their uses.

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