On the subject of paying attention to detail, there’s another thing you must always watch out for, and that’s thresholds. There are a number of systems out there that use graduated costs and knowing where the thresholds lie can help you save a packet. Let’s take house prices in the UK for example. There’s a tax on house purchases called “stamp duty” which is a graduated scale based on the price of the property. Here’s what the scale looks like:
|Purchase price/lease premium or transfer value||SDLT rate|
|Up to £175,000 (until 31 December 2009 – see note above)||Zero|
|Over £175,000 to £250,000||1%|
|Over £250,000 to £500,000||3%|
As you can see there are a number of thesholds there. For example, the difference in stamp duty if you cross the £250,000 threshold is an extra £5000 in tax. That’s a strong reason to try not to cross the threshold, but if you don’t know what you’re buying into. If you can rip out the stainless steel backsplash and all the trimmings to keep the price below the threshold, go ahead and do it.