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Business Rates v Council Tax - eligibility rules set out

The government’s Valuation Office Agency has set out the eligibility rules which now  apply to self-catering properties in England and Wales.

Properties and owners who do not meet these rules will be eligible for the - normally higher - council tax.

The new eligibility rules are different depending on whether your property is in England or Wales but what is common to both countries is that these rules apply to residential properties (so not, for example, hotels) and have no exceptions.


The VOA says that if your property is in England, to continue to be eligible for business rates, from 1 April 2023 your property must be available for letting commercially for short periods that total 140 nights or more in the previous and current year, and actually let commercially for 70 night or more in the previous 12 months.

If your property is in Wales to continue to be eligible for business rates your property must be available to let commercially for short periods that total 252 nights or more in the previous and current year and actually let commercially for 182 nights or more in the previous 12 months.

The VOA looks at whether the property was occupied immediately before midnight to establish whether a property was let on a certain night. For example, this means that a property let out from Friday evening to Sunday morning would have been let for two nights for the purposes of meeting the self-catering criteria.

A statement from the VOA says: “When we talk about commercially let properties, we mean properties that are let with the intention of making a profit. This usually means the property is let at market rates and actively advertised. For example, using holiday cottage websites, estate agents, and tourist web pages to advertise the property. Any non-commercial lettings, for example lettings to family and friends for amounts below the market rates, would not count towards commercial lettings.”

The VOA issues forms called ‘Requests for Information’.

One of them has been designed specifically for self-catering units and holiday cottages. The information provided on this form is used to check that the eligibility rules for self-catering properties are met.

The VOA says it’s important that you return this form in time – you will be liable to a financial penalty otherwise. It’s also important to complete it accurately, as it’s a legal document and there can be serious consequences for including false information, including prosecution.

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  • George Dawes

    Business rates , arguably the most unfair tax of all , if you’ve got commercial property that is

    Having two shops I know from experience , sadly

    Most people don’t realise you get nothing for it , not even collection of your rubbish ..

  • icon

    Goodbye holiday lets in Wales. What an own goal by the Welsh government destroying part of their tourist industry.


    I thought that, they don't have much other than tourism in Wales do they ?


    They've still got steel making but now need to import the coal it needs unless the Cumbrian coal mine is allowed to start producing high quality coking coal with a much smaller carbon footprint than the current imported coal.

    Of course the Greens are against this greener source of the necessary coal!

  • icon

    They got plenty of sheep.

  • George Dawes

    Council tax higher than business rates ?

    Not in my experience

    4 bed house in prime central London 2k pa council tax

    Shop below 26k business rates


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