The COVID-19 pandemic has been more than just a global health crisis. It has also caused severe damage to economies and people’s social lives worldwide.
As one of the numerous consequences of coronavirus, couples looking to get married during this surreal time have been forced to postpone their wedding from 2020 until 2021, given the highly restrictive measures in place last year to contain the spread of the virus.
Getting married can be financially burdening even without covid.
For some however, it may prove to be unaffordable given the mass job and income losses experienced by millions of people during the pandemic. That is why the Italian government has set up a unique scheme of granting marriage bonuses in the form of tax deductions to the country’s newlyweds to help cover their ceremony costs and thereby get the wedding industry back up and running to normal capacity.
This marriage bonus scheme is part of the government’s relaunch package to support the country’s economy during the pandemic and consists of offering a kind of social security benefit to couples who have recently got married or who are planning to get married by December 2021.
In fact, plans for these marriage bonuses have long been proposed by the government, but the emergency posed by the current pandemic has now compelled them to finally put the idea into practice.
The government has suggested a 25% deduction in tax over a period of 5 years on wedding costs of up to 25,000 euros for couples getting married between January and December 2021. These can include costs for various aspects such as hiring wedding planners, photographers, flower arrangers and purchasing the bridal dress.
The hope is that the tax concession will prove to be a monetary incentive for future couples to not delay their marriage plans any longer. Although much of the official blueprint is still in the drafting phase, couples who recently got married or will get married by December 2021 are being encouraged to check their eligibility to receive this bonus.
Such a scheme does not appear to exist in other countries such as the UK, and so Italy could serve as an ideal role model for the UK to promote the general importance of supporting newly married couples and helping to save the wedding sector.
In response to the socioeconomic damage caused by the pandemic, the UK itself has organized a successful furlough scheme to financially support workers who have lost income through the crisis. However, it could go a step further and follow Italy’s example by lending financial aid to couples getting married during the pandemic. This bonus is more than just an economic benefit. Because a person’s wedding is one of the most special days in their life, they should rightly receive financial compensation for the incurred sacrifice of downsizing their wedding due to the pandemic.
There are not many things to thank the pandemic for, but it has exposed the need to improve marriage allowance schemes for couples who need help to cover their wedding costs. Depending on how the government’s proposed plans turn out, getting the right financial support to help fund a wedding could be made a whole lot easier, even beyond COVID. So perhaps this is something the UK government should consider too.