Coastal residents could be exploiting 'unjust loophole' for tax relief, councillor says

Councillor David Beavan - he believes Southwold is oversaturated with the number of second homes throughout the town...

Town and district councillor for Southwold, David Beavan - Credit: Archant

A Southwold community leader has called for an "unjust loophole" that could potentially allow second homeowners in coastal towns tax relief to be closed.

David Beavan, town and district councillor for Southwold, told East Suffolk Council's meeting on Wednesday that he suspects some residents in the coastal resort have fraudulently registered their properties as a cottage-to-let business.

If properties are registered as a business, they could be entitled to tax relief - while government grants are also available for home owners that have been unable to welcome visitors.

Mr Beavan told the meeting: "They just tick the box to say they are available – they don’t have to actually let at all.

"This unjust loophole foments resentment and division and has been hanging around like a bad smell.

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"It is like a dead rat under the floor boards which is going to keep stinking until chancellor Rishi Sunak gets rid of it in the budget."

Whitehall officials have previously said that Government is aware of the issue, which has been highlighted by coastal resorts and holiday hotspots around the country, and has examined strengthening the criteria for holiday lets to be liable for business rates.

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