Who Weds For The Tax Break?

by Patrick Appel

Bagehot suspects deductions don't have much effect on the marriage rate:

[D]o any of [the family values politicians] really, seriously think that the tax rules or boxes on forms have a decisive impact on whether people marry or not? To dip into anecdote, there were many reasons why I proposed to my wife nearly 13 years ago, but the tax implications were not high on the list. In fact, though I am painfully conscious of the tax that I pay, I am not even sure I could tell you, hand on heart, precisely what impact marriage (as opposed to co-habitation) has on our family tax affairs.