Following new government measures announced today (Friday 14 January), people who own second homes and abuse the tax avoidance by claiming their often-vacant properties will be forced to pay leave.
The government said the rules would target property owners who take advantage of the system to avoid paying their fair share for local services in popular locations such as Cornwall, Devon, the Lake District, West Sussex and the Isles of Scilly.
As the rules currently stand, second homeowners in England who declare their intention to give away their property to vacationers can avoid paying council tax and get relief in small business rates.
But, according to the government, many property owners never actually allowed their homes to remain vacant and benefited unfairly from tax exemptions.
After a consultation, the government said it would introduce changes to the tax system that would require other homeowners to pay council tax on properties if they are not a de facto holiday.
Beginning April 2023, other landlords will have to prove that holiday lets are being rented for a minimum of 70 days, where they meet the criteria, to be entitled to the small business rate relief.
Holiday let owners will be required to provide details and receipts as well as evidence such as a website or brochure used to advertise the property.
In addition, the properties would also have to be available for rent for 140 days to qualify for the rate relief.
The government says that 65,000 holiday lattes in England are liable for commercial rates, of which around 97% have deductible values of up to £120,000. Presently, there is no requirement to produce proof that a property has been let out commercially.
Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Level Up, said: “We will not stand up and allow the privileged to abuse the system by falsely claiming tax relief and allowing local people to calculate costs.”