Married couples relief

An earlier blog explained the basis of the planned tax relief for married couples.  Perhaps someone can explain its real purpose.  Some have suggested it is social engineering – encouraging people to be married rather than simply live together.  Is £3.85 per week (maximum) likely to engineer anything?

Of the estimated 4million married couples who may benefit from the relief, how many will be aware of it?  How many in this category will be completing a tax return?  How many of those that do know about it will be bothered to claim?  So, what is the point?

Will it achieve any change in social behaviour?  – No

Will it win votes at the next election? – No

Will it make any significant difference to people’s lives – No

A full transferable personal tax allowance might achieve all three.  I suspect it would cost a considerable amount – but it would have considerable impact.  It is an understatement to say that the proposed relief will have no impact at all.   It will make only a political point about supporting married life – but like many political points it is blunt and point-less.