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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

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UK married couples pay most tax

Middle-income married couples pay a third more in tax than wedded couples in other countries, a report this week has revealed.

The proportion of income taken from middle-income families has more than doubled in 40 years, despite having stayed the same for single people, according to Christian social policy charity CARE.

The report also found that families where one parent stays at home are worst hit, and adds that Britain is almost unique among developed countries in not recognising marriage in the tax system.

A one-earner married couple with children, earning up to £33,000 a year, pays almost one third more tax in the UK than the average in the 30 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and 18 per cent more than the EU average.

There are two and a half million such families in Britain. In the United States, a one-earner married couple pays 48 per cent of the tax paid by a single person with no family responsibilities. But a comparable couple in the UK pays 75 per cent.

Leonard Beighton, co-author of the Tax Burden on Families report, said the Government’s refusal to recognise the family in the tax system was “damaging the social fabric of the country and must be addressed by an incoming government”.

Dan Boucher, CARE’s Director of Parliamentary Affairs, added that the system was “trapping children in poverty”.

The report comes as the Conservatives and Labour trade blows over tax breaks for married couples ahead of a general election in the coming months. Tory leader David Cameron has made recognising marriage through the tax system one of his party’s priority policies ahead of the election.

But Labour’s Schools Secretary Ed Balls claims this will penalise women whose husbands have walked out on them.

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