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27/04/2020

UK Government Support for Furnished Holiday Lets and the Self-Employed: Letter to the Chancellor

An open letter was today sent to The Right Honourable Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer on behalf of the estimated 60,000 professional self-catering operators, which form a vital component of the UK tourism industry, generating over £3.6bn per annum for communities throughout the UK.

While we welcome the packages that the UK Government has introduced to support businesses and the self-employed during the COVID-19 crisis, many self-employed self-catering operators are being informed by their accountants that they may not be eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) due to the technical exclusion of income reported in the Furnished Holiday Lets (FHL) boxes of their tax returns.

HMRC introduced the FHL rules to differentiate between professional self-catering operators and people letting second homes for a few weeks a year. Operators who comply with the FHL Rules are deemed to be operating “trading businesses” similar to hotels, while the income generated by people operating below the FHL threshold is deemed to be from “property investment” similar to landlords.

As professional self-catering businesses operating above the FHL threshold are deemed to be trading businesses, it is therefore eminently sensible that the income from these businesses is deemed to be trading income for the purposes to SEISS support.

We have asked for urgent confirmation that it is the intention of the UK Government to support professional self-catering operators in this way.

This was signed by:

Zac Stuart-Brown, Chair, Holiday Home Association
Alistair Handyside, Executive Chairman, Professional Association of Self-Catering Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive, Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers
Anwen Jones, Chair, Welsh Association of Self-Catering Operators
Martin Sach, Vice Chair, Federation of National Self-Catering Associations
Kurt Janson, Director, Tourism Alliance
Marc Crothall, Scottish Tourism Alliance

The ASSC very much welcomed and appreciated that the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP, wrote to Nigel Huddleston MP, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage on 22nd April, noting that “we continue to receive a lot of correspondence from businesses which declare income on the property section of their tax return and so are excluded from the self- employment support for what they consider a technical rather than substantive reason.”

FHL Letter to Chancellor

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