Paying Stamp Duty Feels Like a Punishment for Moving House

In most parts of Australia, real estate prices are through the roof. It’s one thing to pay market value for a home; having to pay even more on top of that is a whole other matter. After paying so much money to own even a very modest house, most buyers are irked by having to pay stamp duty. Indeed, the tax seems like nothing short of a punishment in most instances. That’s especially true when you consider its origins versus what it’s ostensibly used for today. Should the stamp duty on real estate purchases be eliminated? Most Australians would respond with a resounding yes.

In the earliest days, the stamp duty that was assessed on real estate transactions was used to cover the costs of filing and stamping the associated paperwork. At that point, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and it wasn’t all that expensive. Times have changed, though. These days, most Australian states and territories generate huge amounts of revenue by collecting the tax from home buyers, and the money is used for much more than filing and stamping paperwork. In fact, it could be argued that much of what’s collected isn’t used for real estate matters at all.

First home buyers tend to have the hardest time buying real estate in Australia. House prices are sky high, and those just starting out don’t often have a lot of money at their disposal. After scrimping and saving for years to amass a decent deposit on their first home, young people are thrown for a loop upon realizing that they’ll also need to come up with a considerable percentage of the value of their new home to cover the stamp duty. Sure, most territories and states waive huge portions of the duty for first home buyers; some offer concessions that eliminate it entirely. Still, asking those with limited means to come up with even more money in order to buy their first homes is hitting below the belt.

Will the stamp duty for real estate purchases ever go away? Considering how much state and territorial governments rely on the revenue that seems highly unlikely. Still, adjustments can and should be made. Rather than charge a percentage of the total value of a very expensive home, for instance, the duty could be a flat rate that’s a lot more reasonable. Whether any changes ever happen, however, is a whole other matter.

The romantic side of New York City – cozying up in the grand city

New York is a bustling, vibrant global metropolis. It is always updated with every new development in the free world, and is the heart of business and finances the world over. Sometimes, however, it is best seen as old New York. Classics never grow old, and New York is full of them. Relive your childhood with your significant other as you revisit the classic hotspots of New York. Spend a day going from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building. Take a walk and have a picnic in Central Park. Taper off at with a stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art where the exhibitions are sure to take your breath away! Then, either head off to a swanky casino or hide back in your hotel room’s coziness and take a shot online at a casino gaming destination like Caesars Casino. Join us as we list the most romantic things to do in the city that never sleeps.

Take a break by the river

The River Café in Brooklyn has probably the best view of downtown Manhattan. Tucked away under the Brooklyn Bridge, let the view take your breath away as you sit nestled with your significant other, insulated from it all. The River Café is quite famous, and offers excellent food along with the view. Turn this into a dinner-date, and turn any regular night into something special!

What’s more fun than Broadway?

Broadway is so well known, people often forget about it! Looking for a night out but tired of the movies? Broadway offers an excellent alternative that will turn any boring date into a magical one. Become infected with the energy of the performers, sing along to known tunes and fall in love with the phenomenon that took hold of the city like no other since. There are many options available, from tragedies to comedies, from low-budget production to celebrity musicals. Choose you own fun!

Relive a fairytale in Central Park

Ah, Central Park. This is a reliable friend when you want to spend time with your significant other in a beautiful place. With beautiful landscapes and lovely people always around, you can’t really go wrong with Central Park. A picnic here is a staple on every couple’s list, though it probably has been done to death by now. Add a bit of magic to the day by taking a ride in the many horse-drawn carriages available! It is an old-fashioned way to explore a high-fashion city. Though a little cheesy, you can’t beat the giddy, silly and happy feeling after!

Indulge your senses in a chocolate café

New York is simply dotted with Jacques Torres Chocolate cafes. Why is this romantic you ask? The entire menu is chocolate. From chocolate drinks, to chocolate truffles to chocolate cakes and sweets and a host of other things, this is the place to bring your sweetie. There is even chocolate wine for the most mature of the crowd who still feel childishly happy with chocolate. What better way to end a perfect day than with a literal cornucopia of chocolate?

Pounds to Pocket withdraws birthday celebration loan promotions

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http://images.cdn.fotopedia.com/flickr-5045502202-hd.jpg

There has been enough news in the payday loans industry of late to wrap the entire quantity of fish and chips consumed in the UK over the summer. That’s not a fact of course, merely a guess, and chip shops aren’t allowed to wrap their wares in newspaper any more because all those inky fishcakes, so it’s all completely by the by.

The latest news story emanating from the payday lenders industry to receive widespread news coverage is the withdrawal of an email sent by the payday lender Pounds to Pocket, currently one of the larger firms in an industry in which Wongaleads the way.

The email sent by Pounds to Pocket – owned by CashEuroNetUK – arrived in prospective and past customers’ inboxes containing the subject line: “We’d like to wish you the best on your special day! Now you can apply for the money you need to enjoy your birthday worry-free.”

Those payday lenders working hard to clean up the reputation of the industry and adhere to the tough new rules imposed by industry regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) must have been exasperated by the use of such a class advertising stunt by a lender that’s big enough to know better.

Widespread criticism of the ad

The Citizens Advice charity was quick to draw the attention to the email, complaining about the casual “worry-free” attitude it endorsed and encouraged. Not only did it underplay the serious nature of a short-term loan, it also encouraged prospective borrowers to use the money irresponsibly to fund birthday parties and treats.

CashEuroNetUK responded to the complaints by acknowledging that a short-term loan was a serious consideration. It also explained that it went to “great lengths” to ensure its emails were not sent to groups for whom the ad could be inappropriate or detrimental.

In this case, it actually beggars belief that a lender would be as stupid as to send out emails that were obviously going to fly so close to the wire and attract negative attention. Perhaps Pounds to Pocket was of the view that any press is good press, after all, given the crackdown it does seem unlikely that such an email could be sent without expectations of reprisals further down the line.

The Advertising Standards Authority’s response

Upon further investigation, the Advertising Standards Authority(ASA) found that a 20 percent discount was offered on the first scheduled payment to any borrower who applied for a loan on the day the email was received. If approved for a loan, the customer would then have to wait just ten minutes for the funds to appear in their account.

In its ruling on the email, the ASA said: “While possibly desirable, having money to spend on birthday celebrations was unlikely to be seen as essential, and by encouraging recipients to take advantage of the service through a special offer discount for immediate application, Pounds to Pocket had urged a decision, thereby limiting the amount of time those interested in a loan were able to give to proper consideration.

“We concluded that the email was irresponsible because it encouraged taking a short-term loan for frivolous spending and promoted the process of borrowing as trivial and without responsibility.”

 

In response, Pound to Pocket has removed the email from circulation.

 

What next for the payday lenders?

The recent cleanup of the payday loan industry following new regulations introduced on 1 July and the proposed cost caps has resulted in over a third of UK payday lenders exiting the industry. Those that are left must now be committed to delivering a customer driven service and banishing such murky practices firmly to the past.

Should Pounds to Pocket be fined for issuing such an irresponsible advertising campaign? Have you ever received questionable marketing communications from a payday lender? We’d love to hear from you on this issue, so please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

AUTHOR BIO

 

Caitlin Hope is a UK based freelance writer and finance blogger who busies herself by writing editorials for some of the UK’s most authoritative sites. When she’s not busy writing, Caitlin likes dancing, cooking and sashaying around her basement flat.