An excellent article appeared on the BBC News website this week, written by Robin Williamson of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, addressing the misconception that the tax system does not recognise marriage.
"There has been some debate in political circles about whether the tax system should reward marriage, or be neutral as between married and unmarried couples," begins Mr. Williamson.
He then proceeds to set out the "facts" about the UK tax and tax credits system, which should make interesting reading for the likes of Iain Duncan Smith who favour additional tax breaks for married couples.
A couple of existing tax breaks for married couples and civil partners relate to inheritance tax (IHT). If you're married or in a civil partnership, you can leave everything to your spouse or civil partner and no IHT is due on it because they qualify as exempt beneficiaries.
What's more, married couples and civil partners can transfer any unused inheritance tax allowance - the 'nil-rate band', currently set at £325,000 - to the surviving spouse or civil partner when they die.
As Mr. Williamson point outs: "Unmarried couples who live together do not benefit from these provisions."
** Additional UK tax law information & advice **
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