Close the loophole that allows second home owners to evade council tax and rates
In England, second home owners can avoid council tax by claiming to be a business if they say they are available for letting for 140 days a year - they do not have to actually let at all.
As their rateable value is below £12k, they also qualify for 100% small business rate relief - so pay nothing.
In Southwold, on the Suffolk coast, where most houses are second homes, this loophole costs the local council about half a million pounds every year in lost revenue because 257 of these homes claim to be a business and pay nothing.
It is grossly unfair that people with two homes should be subsidized by people with no, or only one, home.
Most genuine businesses do not now qualify for small business rate relief because the latest revaluation has put them above the ceiling.
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