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HMRC set to commence crackdown in early 2022 on holiday let tax avoiders after record staycation season

Publications featured in include: City AM

HMRC has the power to request information or documents from third parties such as holiday booking sites “for the purpose of checking the taxpayer’s tax position”. This includes entire databases of popular holiday booking sites.

AirBnB has previously agreed to share information on income earned by its UK hosts as part of a 2020 tax settlement with HM Treasury. As part of the deal, the company agreed to pay an extra £1.8 million in tax and share data on hosts’ incomes with HMRC.

Over the next few months, ahead of the January 31 2022 deadline, owners of holiday flats and cottages will be filing their self-assessment tax returns that cover the first year of the Covid-staycation boom. Many will be tempted to under report the windfall earnings they have made in that period.

Covid-related travel restrictions persuaded a far larger number of Brits than usual to book a ‘staycation’ this summer. This led to a boom for UK holiday lets and brought a lot of newcomers into the market. 

Prices have surged for holiday lets, with increases of 35% from last year seen in some tourism hotspots*. Summer 2021 was predicted to see a 51% rise in domestic tourism spending to £51.4bn**, but some sites have seen bookings increase by up to 300%***.

Neela Chauhan, Partner in our London office says, “With the boom in staycations driven by the pandemic, leading to a bumper season for UK holiday lets, it’s likely HMRC will come for their slice of the pie.”

“HMRC will be checking tax returns from people who have let property for a jump in declared income to reflect the staycation boom. Their algorithms will fairly easily identify those holiday homeowners who they think are under-declaring income.”

“As HMRC’s Let Property Campaign targeting buy-to-let landlords shows, the Treasury sees landlords as an obvious target for tax investigations and extra tax revenue.”

“Landlords are recommended to make sure they are aware of their tax obligations before spending their summer ‘staycation’ windfall.”

“Landlords who fail to declare unpaid taxes are ultimately risking fines and criminal prosecution.”

*Source: Which?
** Source: Visit Britain
*** Source: campsites.co.uk 

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