ABOUT

1. About this Website's Primary Service


This website currently provides an extensively developed and fully featured FREE on-page Stamp Duty Calculator (thus making it technically a web application rather than a mere website). Both Stamp Duty Land Tax (applicable in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but NOT Scotland) and Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (applicable only in Scotland) are covered by the calculator.

Both of these calculators rely on, and have been extensively tested using, data gathered from the relevant official governmental websites and are accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of writing.

An additional feature offered by both calculators is the ability to create a downloadable (and printable) document showing how any given calculation was made in a tabular format suitable for presentations.

Please note that no personally identifiable data is gathered from you when you use any of the above services.


2. About this Website's Other Services


I also intend to use this website, from time-to-time, to offer users the opportunity to download relevant free guides or ebooks, generally focussed on the early or preparatory stages of domestic construction projects.

This website may also link to other websites relevant to its central theme, including governmental websites. For example, where appropriate there may be occasional links to relevant official tax guidance documentation.


3. About this Website's Maker


Normally, this might be where the company who produces a website like this will tell you something about itself and its key staff.

But this is not a company; this is just one person. So all I will do here is write a few lines about myself.

My name is "Jay" Woods and, you will be assured to know, my background is highly mathematical (among other things). I'm a fully qualified aeronautical engineer and also have a master's degree in mechanical engineering design.

Looking at it in the context of this website, I am highly qualified in two numerate disciplines, meaning that you should be able to feel confident that the under-the-bonnet maths on this site are sound (see the Net Present Value page for an example). Compared to the non-linear equations governing airflow round an object, or modelling the stress distribution around an aeroplane's window, the government's tax formulae are not very daunting.

After graduation I immediately entered the residential construction industry, then left it for a while to write hotel and golf guides (despite having no interest in either), and then returned again and worked for years finding building plots and small development sites for speculative investors up until the end of the UK's property boom in the first quarter of 2007.

To say the learning curve was steep would be putting it mildly, but it was a pleasant occupation, especially on “road trip” days that helped build up my knowledge of the best fish and chips shops around.

Nowadays I still retain involvement in the property industry, albeit background project management work in small development projects, all very low profile, all very prosaic.

However, my primary profession now is bespoke "mobile-first" web development; hence this project. In other words, I am a web developer (more on this further below).

If you like this website and suddenly feel compelled to thank me, the best way to do that would be to tell other people about it. You can do this through the social sharing buttons at the top of the page, or you could send an email link to anyone you think would appreciate this site.


4. About this Website's Technicalities (for the curious & for my fellow coders)


Strictly speaking, this is a hybrid between a website and a web application, rather than just a whole website per se. Or to be semantically correct, the home page largely resembles a lightweight "Single-Page Application" or SPA for short, without actually being one in the literal sense.

What does that mean? It means that, unlike the government's SDLT calculators, the user doesn't have to sit through multiple page loads to use it; from the user's perspective everything happens without additional page loads, as though the page were a generic, non-web-based application.

This is all made possible through on-page processes handled by Javascript (JS), a client-side programming language that executes on the user's web browser. With this site's home page, the JS discreetly interacts (via AJAX calls) with server-side PHP code as well, specifically in the calculation of the SDLT and LBTT results, and in the generation of the PDF reports.

It would be accurate to say, then, that the main maths and logic engines of the SDLT and LBTT calculators run on PHP, whereas the date calculations and other pre-calculation primer actions occur exclusively on the user's browser.

But wait! Aren't things like SPAs an SEO no-no? Until recently, yes. However, that has now changed, although much material on the web has yet to be updated to reflect this.

As for anything else that may be of interest to the technically minded / geeks, the whole thing was coded in a localhost environment powered by XAMPP installed on a RAM disk for speed. The various pages of source code as they appear upon inspection are not how I composed them; rather, I made various common PHP components that are then dynamically stitched together to generate the finished code.

The high speed page loading comes courtesy of many techniques, including the use of a CDN, all the standard compressions and some unorthodox trickery with the timings for the CSS and JS fetches. You could say I know a thing or two about high speed delivery of web content.

Closing comments... The entire project took around four months of programming and testing as well as a level of technical input an order of magnitude greater than that required for a straightforward website. Considering my initial intention had been for a simple, one-page website with a plain white background (I jest not), this project stands as a monument to the concept of "mission creep".