South Carolina’s Tax Incentives for Premarital Preparation Courses

South Carolina’s Tax Incentives for Premarital Preparation Courses

When deciding to get married, there are considerable financial and logistical decisions that must be discussed before tying the knot. Depending on the type of wedding that you and your partner are considering, there could be costs related to renting out a venue, hiring a caterer and a band, and of course, the bridal attire. What is often forgotten are the costs associated with the marriage itself, more specifically the administrative costs to obtain the marriage license. An initiative that South Carolina put forward in 2006 provides a tax incentive to married couples who attend a premarital preparation course. Married couples who attend one of these courses and demonstrate through appropriate documentation of attendance before obtaining a marriage license could claim a $50 tax credit.

The Tax Credit: Premarital Preparation Course

Under this law, married couples may be eligible for this tax credit if:

  • The course is taught by a professional counselor, an active clergy member, or a retired clergy member who all have been either licensed or have otherwise received the training necessary to teach premarital preparation skills.
  • The couple attends the course together and not separately for the required six hours of instruction.
  • The course is taught and the hours are completed within 12 months before the marriage license application has been submitted.

The tax credit is a one-time only tax benefit, meaning that if you received the tax benefit for taking the course for the first marriage, retaking the course a second time before your second marriage will not satisfy the requirements for the tax benefit.

Purpose Behind Tax Credit Incentive

Though the tax credit is minimal, South Carolina is attempting to influence soon-to-be-married couples to take this premarital preparation course so as to give the couple a better likelihood of staying together, since marriage is better for the economy. According to a study published by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI), divorce has a negative impact on economic growth. This is because divorce is not only expensive and diverts funds that might ordinarily have gone into the state itself, but more divorce leads to a drop in income rates and leads to an increase of households since one house now becomes two. More households require the state to expend more money on housing, energy, transportation, and other necessary resources. South Carolina, by providing an incentive for couples to take these qualifying premarital preparation courses, can reap the economic benefits of fewer divorces.

Premarital Preparation Courses: Are They Worthwhile?

Premarital preparation classes can have a positive impact on soon-to-couples. Though there is no such thing as a fail-safe, the information that is taught in these types of classes can help couples examine aspects of their life that they may not have talked about, and determine in which aspects of life that they do and do not agree. By determining the issues that might cause the most strife, premarital classes can address these concerns and provide a forum to resolve any of these issues that might arise. The following are some benefits of premarital preparation classes:

  • Couples are more likely to have discussions that put marriage in a realistic light. Couples are forced to contemplate any differences that they may have regarding finances, timing, children, religion, etc.
  • Couples can figure out a conflict resolution technique before any problems arise so that they are prepared to deal with a problem at its onset.
  • Couples can identify and learn from their partners what fears that they may have about a marriage and hopefully dismantle these fears before the marriage is entered into.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

Premarital considerations are crucial, especially when considering the long-term nature of marriage. Premarital agreements can help resolve any issues between the couple before they enter into the marriage and set out terms and conditions surrounding the marriage. Premarital agreements can help contain the aggressive nature seen during divorces. The experienced family law attorneys at the Klok Law Firm LLC can help you identify any potential issues at the outset of the marriage. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for an initial and confidential consultation.