Tory's secret tax plans for families
Posted by Jamie at 9 37 PM on Saturday, April 3
MARRIED parents will have their tax bills slashed under radical Tory plans.
David Cameron and George Osborne are putting the finishing touches to their flagship policy to use tax breaks to encourage marriage.
And the News of the World can reveal the details of the plan that could save struggling families almost £1,300 a year — £25 a week.
Shadow Chancellor Mr Osborne wants to let husbands or wives who don’t work, transfer their £6,475 personal tax allowance to their working spouses. That would save basic rate taxpayers as much as £1,295 a year - 20 per cent of the personal tax allowance.
However, the breaks would have to be limited because the shocking finances Mr Osborne would inherit from Labour means he cannot afford the £5billion-plus needed to help every married couple.
So Mr Osborne is looking at giving the breaks to couples who earn less than £20,000-a-year or those with children under three years old. That is the time when women are most likely to want to take a career break.
It could initially apply only to those who tick both boxes. Tory sources describe the plans as a “downpayment”.
Mr Osborne plans to help more couples by loosening the restrictions as the economy recovers. Tax expert Maurice Fitzpatrick, of accountants Grant Thornton, said it would mean big savings for married couples. He added: “If a husband worked and was able to transfer his wife’s allowance, assuming he was a basic rate taxpayer the tax saving would be £1,295.
“That would apply to anyone earning more than £12,950. Such a move would send a signal that the tax system is providing a benefit to a married couple, and a reasonably significant benefit. We are not talking about three and sixpence here, it is a significant tax benefit.”
The plan was first drawn up by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith’s think-tank, the Centre for Social Justice. It was initially rejected as too expensive, but the Tories now say they can afford it if it is limited.
A Tory source said: “If we focus on couples with young children it will make it affordable.” The policy will be the centrepiece of the Tories’ election campaign and one of the key dividing lines between them and Labour. Mr Cameron has promised the details will be spelt out in his election manifesto.
The revelation comes after Cam admitted he “messed up” over the Tories’ commitment to a marriage tax break.
Having previously promised it would be introduced under a Tory government he told the BBC he only “hoped” to do so.
He was forced to issue a statement saying the Tories were in fact pledged to deliver on the policy within a Parliament.
And the plan comes days after Mr Osborne promised to partially reverse Labour’s planned rise in National Insurance. That move was backed by more than 20 top business leaders, including the chief execs of Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Next.
A Tory spokesman: “David Cameron has said he would set out details of our policy before the election and we will.”
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