Sadly, I’m not a millionaire and therefore don’t make nearly enough to be taxed anything close to £2.24 million.
But I did recently buy my first home. One Friday night, towards the end of the buying process, I got home to find a letter from my solicitor.
Buying a home involves A LOT of paperwork and it’s important to keep on top of it. So I sat down intending to sign it and send it back straight away so there wouldn’t be any delays.
Everything was going fine: the address of the flat I was buying was correct, as were the details about me. But then I read down to the amount I had to pay in stamp duty.
At first, I didn’t really comprehend the number as it had no comma separators (as in 1,000,000). Then it dawned on me that the piece of paper said that the "amount of tax due for this transaction was 2240000.00" – in other words, £2.24 MILLION! Hardly your average first-time buyer’s stamp duty bill.
As it happened, when I called the solicitor after the weekend, I discovered there had been an administrative error and it could be easily sorted out.
Shortly afterwards, a new stamp duty form was sent with the correct (but still excessive) amount of stamp duty land tax (it’s worth a read of Martin’s blog The UK’s worst tax… stamp duty – a sentiment I heartily agree with).
So, the moral of the tale is… ALWAYS, ALWAYS check the paperwork before putting your signature to it!
Have you ever received a larger than expected bill? Please let us know your opinions in the discussion below or in the forum.