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Are you able to claim small business rate relief for your furnished holiday let?

Holiday homes and holiday lets are treated differently – holiday lets are liable for business rates while holiday home owners must pay council tax. This can work to the landlord’s advantage, particularly if small business rate relief is available. However, owners of holiday properties should be warned – new rules are coming into effect from April 2023 to ensure only those properties that are actually let as holiday accommodation will be within business rates rather than council tax.

Nature of business rates

Business rates are charged instead of council tax on non-domestic properties. This includes residential properties let as furnished holiday lettings on a commercial basis.

The rates are worked out by multiplying the rateable value by the multiplier for the year.

The standard multiplier applies to properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or more. For 2022/23 this is 51.2 pence in the pound (52.4 pence in the pound in London). The small business multiplier applies to properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000. For 2022/23 this is set at 49.9 pence in the pound (51.1 pence in the pound in London).

Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or less may qualify for small business rate relief. This may mean that you do not need to pay any business rates on your holiday let.

Small business rate relief

Small business rate relief is available on business properties with a rateable value of less than £15,000. However, you will usually only benefit if you only have one business property.

Business with only one property that has a rateable value of £12,000 or less benefit from 100% business rate relief. This means that if you have a single furnished holiday let, you will not pay any business rates as long as the rateable value is not more than £12,000.

If the rateable value falls between £12,000 and £15,000, the relief tapers from 100% for properties with a rateable value of £12,000 to nil for properties with a rateable value of £15,000. So, if your property has a rateable value of £13,500 you will receive a 50% discount on your business rates bill.

If you have more than one holiday let, you may still be able to benefit from small business rate relief on main property as long as the rateable value of any other holiday lets or other business properties that you have is not more than £2,899 and the properties have a total rateable value not exceeding £20,000 (£28,000 in London). If you acquire a second business property, you will be able to keep the relief for 12 months.

If you are eligible for small business rate relief, you will need to claim it. It is not given automatically. You can do this by writing to your local authority. If you are not getting the relief, check your bills, as you may be able to claim retrospectively for previous years.

Future changes

From April 2023, you will only be eligible for business rates on a holiday let if it is let commercially for at least 70 days. As this is less stringent that the letting condition for tax purposes (which requires the property to be let for 105 days in the tax year), holiday lets that qualify as furnished holiday lettings will meet the business rates test.