New tax on empty homes

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Sarah Buswell of Northampton chartered accountants Harris & Co highlights a new tax for property owners. The Department for Communities and Local Government have issued guidance to help authorities in the decision making process for administering the empty homes premium in relation to properties for sale and letting.

From 1 April 2013, billing authorities may charge a premium on a class of property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished for 2 years or more. The premium can be up to 50% of the council tax on the property.

The government’s intention behind the decision to provide billing authorities with the power to charge a premium was not to penalise owners of property that is genuinely on the housing market for sale or rent. Billing authorities are expected to consider why properties are unoccupied and unfurnished, including whether they are available for sale or rent, and decide whether they want such properties to be included in their determination.

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