COUNCIL TAX

EMPTY HOMES SECOND HOMES

 


 
 
 

 

For council tax purposes, empty homes are dwellings which are “Unoccupied and substantially unfurnished”. Second homes, including holiday homes, are furnished dwellings which are not sole or main residences. These categories of dwelling are treated rather differently in terms of the levels of council tax discounts they can attract. Discounts for empty and second homes are granted at the discretion of local authorities, within certain statuary constraints. Second homes can be awarded discounts of up to 50% of the full liability, or they can receive no discounts at all. (A 50% discount is mandatory when second homes are required for people to live in as employment related accommodation, and is also mandatory for unoccupied boat moorings and caravan pitches.) Empty homes can receive discounts of between 0% and 100%. This will be at the discretion of the local authority, as will be the length of time the discount is awarded for. In addition local authorities in England can apply a council tax empty homes premium of up to 50% on dwellings that have been empty for two years or more. This means that taxpayers could be required to pay as much as 150% of the usual rate of council tax on homes that have been empty for two years or more. (In Scotland the council tax premium can be applied to properties which have been empty for over one year and it can be as high as 200 percent of the usual rate.)

There are some empty homes that the premium cannot be levied on. For example some types of annexe or if a person is serving in the armed forces. The differences in the taxation treatment of empty and second homes: empty homes can be given up to 100% discount, whereas second homes can be given a maximum of 50% discount. Both categories of dwelling can be charged the full amount of council tax, but only on long term empty homes can a premium be charged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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