Many buy-to-let landlords are now looking to acquire or convert their traditional buy-to-let properties into serviced accommodation. Depending on the location, the risk may be higher, but this is compensated by the higher returns …
Traditionally, when we refer to the term Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL), your mind automatically jumps to a property in a seaside location. However, there is nothing in the legislation to say that it must be by the sea, just that it must be in the EEA. The property must be furnished and let on a commercial basis with a view to profit.
In addition, during a 12-month period (usually a tax year), the property needs to be:
- Available for let for 210 days
- Be let as a holiday let for 105 days
- Longer-term occupation is defined as a letting of more than 31 days, but not longer than 155 days
The property can be let for periods longer than 31 days at one time, but none of the days will count towards the letting condition, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
You can see how a serviced accommodation, let on a short-term basis can satisfy these rules and, if they do, the tax reliefs are favourable.
So, what are the benefits?
- Profits from an FHL are included within relevant earnings for pension purposes
- Capital Gains Tax reliefs are generally only available to trading businesses, but can be claimed if an FHL business is sold. These include:
- Entrepreneurs’ Relief
- Rollover Relief
- Holdover relief
- Where FHL’s are owned jointly by a husband and wife profits and losses can be allocated in whatever share is agreed as a Profit Split.
- Capital allowances can be claimed in respect of capital expenditure incurred on an FHL
What are the disadvantages?
- If your turnover exceeds the VAT registration threshold, you will need to charge VAT on the rents. Not only is this an administrative issue, it may make the property uncompetitive
- A loss incurred on an FHL business in any tax year is not available for set off against any other income or gains
- Unlike trading businesses, most FHL businesses will not qualify for Business Property Relief (BPR). So, the full value of the FHL, less any mortgage, will be within your estate for Inheritance Tax.