28 Sep 2013

David Cameron’s cash for married couples – who gets it?

David Cameron proposes rewarding marriage with a tax cut – worth £200 a year to four million couples. But it won’t go to everyone. Who gets the £3.85 a week marriage bonus?

Prime Minister David Cameron announced Saturday that “marriage is good for Britain” and that he wants to reward it in the tax system.

His plan has been criticised for excluding unmarried couples. But not all married couples will get it either.

The married couples tax break will favour “one earner” couples, where one partner is either not working or earning very little. Vey high-earners won’t get it either. It will be restricted to basic rate tax payers – a band which includes people on salaries of up to £41,450 a year.

David Cameron's cash for married couples - who gets it?

The marriage tax break has been on the Conservative agenda since 2010, but the bill will be sped up this year and brought in for 2015, Cameron promises.

The tax break will go to couples where one partner has an income of under £41,450 and the second is not working or earning a low salary.

In order for the couple to benefit, the low-earning partner will have to be earning under £9,440 – the current tax-free allowance for 2013/14.

The cash is essentially a transferral of part of the tax-free income allowance from the partner who is not using it all, to the one who is. £1000 of the tax-free allowance can be transferred.

Having an extra £1000 free from 20 per cent tax would save the couple’s main earner £200 a year.

The Conservatives claim that four million married couples and 15,000 couples in civil partnerships will benefit.

Labour have claimed the tax break is unfair to unmarried couples and favours men over women.