Marriage and Tax


In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Andy Burnham, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, says there is a “moral case” for promoting the traditional family through the tax system. “I think marriage is best for kids,” he says. “It’s not wrong that the tax system should recognise commitment and marriage.”

Well, yes it is actually. The tax system should be indifferent to whether people have made a promise to the Sky Pilot or not. What you\’re actually saying is that you\’ve noted that such tax breaks are popular. This is known as populism.

4 thoughts on “Marriage and Tax”

  1. Why should the tax system be indifferent to marriage?
    And most marriages are legitimised by the state.
    Marriage has been the core of civilisation for ages.
    You have to have a real good reason for tampering with it and all its appurtanences.

  2. Hang about here, of course the tax/welfare system should be neutral between marriage and single-dom, but it’s not, it massively subsidises lone parents and/or penalises cohabiting or married parents (depending on your point of view).

    This £1,000 tax saving offfered by Tories only makes up a fraction of the ‘couple penalty’, and whatever pale imitation Nulab hit back with will be even shitter, just you wait and see.

  3. If marriage produces economically better results and children who are less likely to break the law and cause grief to their fellow citizens then it is indeed a Good Thing which the state ought to encourage.

    Check the magistrates and crown courts – you can guarantee as a rule of thumb that the majority of young offenders will have experienced the breakdown of the relationship of their natural parents. And cohabitation leads to more breakdown than marriage. Therefore it is in society’s interests to encourage marriage regardless of moral or religious considerations.

    Tim adds: The argument there though is about cause and effect. Does cohabitation lead to more break up because those who cohabit are more likely to break up or because those who are more likely to break up are less likely to marry?

  4. Marriage is a State-recognised relationship between two individuals. It does have a legal bearing on the transfer of assets between those individuals so I don’t see why it shouldn’t influence the transfer of those assets to the State, i.e. taxation.

    Do I think the State should have a role in marriage? I’m not sure, I tend to think the State should treat people as individuals, rather than as couples or families. However, the simple fact is that the State already does treat marriage differently and if it is going to do this then it ought to be supportative rather than the corroding relationship, as noted by Mark, that it currently employs.

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