Tax hitch for cottage owners

Landowners could make a significant contribution to overcome the affordable homes crisis if more sensible tax treatment was available, Norf-olk CLA members were told.

Landowners could make a significant contribution to overcome the affordable homes crisis if more sensible tax treatment was available, Norf-olk CLA members were told.

Branch president Tom Cook said: "The Government spends quite a lot of time ranting on about so-called affordable housing. Landowners with spare cottages as a result of reduced farm requirements are in a unique position to help plug that gap. But here is the irrational string.

"If you let such a property, at the next change of ownership in the family it is classed as a non-business, and, therefore, that change attracts capital gains tax. If, however, you convert it into a holiday cottage, thereby denying the local first home-seeker a roof over their heads, it can be passed on with holdover and without triggering CGT as it is classed as a business asset."

Mr Cook, of the Sennowe


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Estate at Guist, near Faken-ham, said he lived in a low-value area. "Nevertheless, I calculate if a change of owner-ship takes place once in 30 years, £50 of rent is required every month just to pay the capital gains tax on a three-bedroom property when it is triggered. Remove the tax as in a holiday cottage and the tenant can pay £50 per month less rent. How illogical, vind-ictive and twisted can Govern-ment thinking be?" he said.

Mr Cook also warned land-owners to think hard before planting anywhere near a public place. "My recommen-dation is that you don't. Once that tree reaches 4.5in diam-eter at a height of 4.5ft, you no longer have jurisdiction over it. You are responsible for ensuring the safety of the public who walk underneath it," he said.

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