We married for a tax break

Posted February 14, 2014

We married for a tax break

I knew straight away that he was The One. The problem was it took him longer to realise that I was the one for him too. 

I was still a student when we met. He was six years older and separated but not quite divorced from his first wife. I remember plucking up the courage to tell my mother that not only was the ‘boy’ I’d been going out with more man than boy, but a married man to boot. She was hoovering at the time. The second I uttered those dreaded words Mum, I’ve got something to tell you, she switched the hoover off and remained stony faced as I babbled my confession. When she realised I wasn’t pregnant, she simply turned the hoover back on and continued cleaning.

We moved in together. His divorce finally came through. One after another our friends got hitched. Yet we continued to live together. A case of once bitten, twice shy as far as he was concerned. I was happy to leave things as they were … for a while. Then one day I realised that a while had turned into six years. It was time he took the plunge again. 

He didn’t plunge though. Instead he acted like a diver teetering on the top board. He was scared: he didn’t want to risk another marriage ending in failure. I was resentful: how could he tell if our marriage would work or not if he never tried? We were at an impasse. 

Thankfully the government of the day stepped in, waving cash. As an unmarried couple, in the late 80s, our total tax free allowance was £5,570. We discovered that if we got married this would increase to a whopping £7,160. We’d just bought our first house and taken on a mortgage. The thought of more money in our pockets was all the inducement we needed. The wedding date was set!

Now, as we approach our 25th wedding anniversary (yes, believe it or not we’re still together) I hear of fresh government incentives for married couples. David Cameron has gone as far as to declare: “I believe in marriage, I believe marriage should be recognised in the tax system.” An extra £150 will go to low income couples, with promises of more sweeping incentives, should the Tories win the next election (ahem). 

£150? Is that piffling amount an expression of the value you place on love, David? I’m sure Samantha would be thrilled.

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