HC Deb 10 March 1926 vol 192 cc2323-4W
Captain BENN

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that, under the present method of assessment for Income Tax, there is, even on the smaller incomes, an actual tax on marriage; and whether he will consider the possibility of removing this grievance?


The suggestion underlying the hon. Member's question would seem to involve the adoption of a course under which a husband and wife would receive individual personal allowances and be taxed at a rate or rates determined by their individual incomes and not, as at present, by their joint income. The effect of this would be to relieve the well-to-do at the expense of the poorer taxpayers, because in their case the wife has, as a rule, either no separate income at all, or a separate income less than the additional Income Tax allowance granted in the case of the married couple, and the Government, therefore, do not propose to adopt a policy involving this result.

Captain BENN

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what it is estimated would be the cost to the Treasury of allowing to all married persons payment of Income Tax at half rate on £225 allowed at present, whether married or single, and allowing this concession in those cases only where the wife earns her income?


It is estimated that the cost to the Exchequer of allowing to all married couples (whether the wife has any income or not) relief to half the standard rate of tax on £450 assessable income, would amount to about £9,000,000. If this concession were made to apply only where the wife earns income, it is a matter of considerable difficulty to arrive at a reliable figure; but on the assumption that the increase in the amount of income chargeable at half rate is not to exceed the amount of the wife's earned income, less the appropriate earned income allowance, it is thought that the loss to the Exchequer would be in the neighbourhood of £250,000.