Should all Holiday Lets Pay Council Tax? Council could raise a least £1m a year

Tim Dwelly, Leader of the Labour group at Cornwall Council will introduce a motion at next week’s Full Council meeting suggesting that all Holiday Lets in Cornwall should be registered for Council Tax rather than Business Rates.

Since the 50% discount on Council tax for holiday lets and second homes was abolished, the vast majority of lets are now registered for Business Rates, and with most being small cottages can then claim small business rates relief, meaning they pay very little tax on their properties, or even none at all.

At last Full Council there were two public questions on the issue. The first was from a Ms Bates of Penzance who asked how many homes there were in Cornwall that did not pay Council Tax because they were designated as commercial holiday lets but did not pay Business Rates either, because they fell below the small business threshold for that levy.

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The Portfolio Holder for Resources (Cllr Julian German) responded by saying that there were currently 7,707 holiday lets in Cornwall, of which 6,065 received Small Business Rate Relief so did not pay any business rates.

Mrs Broadhurst of Penzance, who stated there was a widespread perception that many homes in Cornwall were not paying council tax because they were registered as holiday businesses, instead of paying for a commercial service, using the waste collection service provided for Council Taxpayers.

She then asked how much this free service for holiday lets was costing the Council annually.


The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection (Cllr Sue James) responded by saying that there were 7,707 holiday lets in Cornwall that were registered for Business Rates as at 25/10/17. Many of these property owners complied with the Waste Regulations and their duty of care, as required under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and associated Controlled Waste Regulations 2012, and as such made arrangements for the collection and disposal of the waste emanating from their properties to be collected by commercial waste collection companies.

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At this stage, it was not possible to know how many owners were breaking the law in using the Council’s domestic waste collection service, however, the Council was considering options to offer a commercial waste collection service in 2020.

In the meantime businesses would be reminded of their obligations and the Council would consider legal action as appropriate for those who choose to break the law.

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Guidance was provided for businesses at the ‘Right Waste Right Place’ website

All Holiday Lets to Pay Council Tax

Cllr Dwelly’s motion next week is seconded by Cllr Kirk, and supported by Cllrs Barnes, Cole and Olivier.

“This Council believes that holiday home owners should all pay council tax to Cornwall Council. The ability to declare holiday lets as commercial premises enables many owners to pay no business rates at all. Cornwall Council will therefore seek devolved powers to ensure that all holiday lets are liable for council tax in Cornwall”

Cornwall Labour’s Cllr Tim Dwelly (PZ)

Cllr Dwelly says the aim of the motion is to increase council tax revenue and ensure equity between residents and holiday home owners.

The council’s own ‘prudent’ estimates are that if implemented this change could raise an extra circa £1m per year for the council budget.

Current legislation means the Council don’t have the power to make this change by themselves- it would be illegal for them to do so  – it would need to be put into Cornwall’s devolution deal, or for the Government give special permission to Cornwall Council.


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