Treating the Bite That Hurts
It's surprising how much about income taxes can be packed into a few web pages. Obviously nobody can review the whole tax law - point by point simply. But it's possible to signal a few warnings, and to single out some special pitfalls.
One point at the outset: There is no single, magic formula for smart tax work. There is no "inside" way to cut way down on what a man must inevitably pay to the Internal Revenue. There is no secret gimmick that a few informed tax solicitors and Accountants know about. What there is, though, is the possibility of reducing your taxes to a minimum level in a given situation.
And one warning: The tax man - Accountant, solicitor, or self-styled "expert" - who promises you a windfall in taxes saved, and who suggests that he has all kinds of methods for tax reduction that you never heard of - may be a man to avoid.
True, there are gray areas in the tax law, and it's possible to color them pure white and make them work to your advantage, if you use some sharp techniques. But the sharp techniques can bite back, and every year a few thousand otherwise honest people find themselves in a local courtroom. And thousands and thousands more though they stay out of court - end up paying stiff pound penalties for paying too little, too late to the UK. Treasury.
The idea is expressed by the tax solicitors this way: It's perfectly proper to avoid taxes - that is, to pay just as little as you can within the bounds of the law; it's not proper, or even legal, to evade taxes - which is what the sharpies and know-it-alls attempt to do. With this much tucked away, it's possible to review some sensible, pound-saving pointers.
You're hitting a rough market these days if you are putting a house up for sale. Finding a buyer who can pay the price - and swing the needed mortgage deal - may not be easy. Keep in mind that to help your house sell, you might:
Hire an independent appraiser (whose fee will be somewhere in the £100-£150 range). Check his appraisal against what two or three real estate men say the house is worth. This will help you price it right - and not scare away buyers by reaching for an unrealistically high price that an agent might suggest. Rule of thumb: If it's a £50,000 to £75,000 house, allow maybe 10% for "horse-trading." Ask, say £60,000 - if you're willing to go... see: On The Selling Side: How To Move A House