Your article (16 November) on North Yorkshire county council’s decision to levy a council tax premium on second homes says it was “to tackle the ‘blight’ of holiday lets”. Both second homes (primarily used by owners for their own holidays) and holiday lets (rented to others for most of the time) do create major problems in areas such as Whitby. However, second homes are very different from holiday lets from the perspective of local taxation.
Holiday lets in general are not subject to council tax but to business rates. In most cases, however, they benefit from the 100% relief for small businesses and so pay neither council tax nor rates. As such, they compete unfairly with hotels, which pay significant amounts of tax (rates and VAT).
While the change agreed by North Yorkshire county council will probably result in more second homes becoming available for locals, it will not impose any extra burden on holiday let owners, so will not ease the blight in that regard. The blight of holiday lets will only be mitigated when they also become subject to council tax.
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