The furnished holiday let (FHL) rules allow holiday lettings of properties that meet certain conditions to be treated as a trade for some specific tax purposes. The FHL rules currently apply to individuals, partnerships, trustees and companies who let furnished holiday accommodation situated within the UK or elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
As landlords face growing obstacles in the traditional buy-to-let market the appeal of FHL continues to grow. The scheme offers valuable tax reliefs provided all the necessary conditions are met. The benefits include:
- The availability of capital gains tax reliefs such as business asset rollover relief, entrepreneurs’ relief, relief for gifts of business assets and relief for loans.
- It is also possible to claim plant and machinery capital allowances for items such as furniture, equipment and fixtures, and
- Any profits from an FHL business count as earnings for pension purposes.
Trading losses from a furnished holiday lettings business can only be set off against qualifying future FHL profits.
The qualifying criteria can be complicated and it is important to properly research any investment to ascertain if you will be able to meet the necessary requirements. For example, the property must be let for at least 105 days per year. There is a special period of grace election which allows homeowners to treat a year as a qualifying year for the purposes of the furnished holiday let rules where they genuinely intended to meet the occupancy threshold but were unable to do so subject to a number of qualifying conditions.
Where the qualifying conditions are not met the normal property income rules apply. It is therefore vital to ensure that any planned FHL investment qualifies in order to benefit from the generous tax reliefs of the scheme.