Second home tax loophole to be closed
- By Elaine Bird
- 14 January 2022
- West Norfolk
Owners of second homes who abuse a tax loophole by claiming their often-empty properties are holiday lets will be forced to pay under tough new measures.
Announced by the Government on 14th January, the new rules will come into effect from April 2023.
Secretary of State for Levelling Up Rt Hon Michael Gove said:
“The government backs small businesses, including responsible short-term letting, which attracts tourists and brings significant investment to local communities.
“However, we will not stand by and allow people in privileged positions to abuse the system by unfairly claiming tax relief and leaving local people counting the cost.
“The action we are taking will create a fairer system, ensuring that second homeowners are contributing their share to the local services they benefit from.”
Currently, owners of second homes in England can avoid paying council tax and access small business rates relief by simply declaring an intention to let the property out to holidaymakers. However, concerns have been raised that many never actually let their homes and leave them empty and are therefore unfairly benefiting from the tax break.
The changes will target people who take advantage of the system to avoid paying their fair share towards local services in popular destinations such as North and West Norfolk.
Second homeowners will have to prove holiday lets are being rented out and provide evidence such as the website or brochure used to advertise the property, letting details and receipts.
Properties will also have to be available to be rented out for 140 days a year to qualify for this relief.