Furnished Holiday Letting

What evidence can we provide HMRC

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Client has a FHL. It is available for let throughout the year. Client lets via word of mouth. The number of days let are recorded on a spreadsheet.

HMRC want documentary evidence that it is available to let, let for the requisite number of days and not let to same person for more than 31 days.

Other than a spreadsheet with days and income on it, how can we document that it is available for the requisite number of days? The HMRC inspector is being very pedantic in other areas and insists he is not allowing FHL treatment without 'documentary evidence'.

Thanks in advance for any pointers!



Replies (9)

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By Accountant A
01st Mar 2019 12:15


Self-catering and holiday let accommodation

If your property is in England and available to let for 140 days or more per year, it will be rated as a self-catering property and valued for business rates.

If your property is in Wales and both available to let for 140 days or more per year and actually let for 70 days, it will be rated as a self-catering property and valued for business rates.

EDIT: Misread the question. Presumably you can only give what documentary evidence exists. It's impossible to prove a negative.

The evidence that it was "let for the requisite number of days" would be the income reported, wouldn't it? X nights at £Y per night.

Thanks (1)
By Wanderer
01st Mar 2019 12:19

Give the spreadsheet that you have mentioned and let the Inspector make specific queries if he doesn't accept that.

Thanks (1)
By michaelblake
01st Mar 2019 16:17

I would be tempted to ask them to describe what documents they believe may be in existence that would prove what they want to see proved. HMRC Inspectors quite often (and wrongly) take the view that if facts cannot be proved by reference to pieces of paper then they cannot be accepted. It sometimes necessary to point out to them that where matters cannot be proved by reference to documents then the ultimate arbiter, if a claim is refused, would be a tribunal, or court, where oral evidence is accepted as well as written evidence and point out that if the client is a truthful and credible witness their account is likely to be accepted.

Thanks (1)
By Vaughan Blake1
01st Mar 2019 16:37

The spread sheet should show the number of days let, and if let for more than 31 days to the same person. If it doesn't then the clients own back up documentation (bookings diary etc) will.

As to 'available for' I would suggest that these are days when it is not, 'unavailable' ie occupied by the owner or for freebies to friends & family.

Thanks (1)
By andy.partridge
01st Mar 2019 16:52

Client lets via word of mouth?

You have to admit that this is unusual - no agent, no advertising, no website? Almost as if your client doesn't want to take bookings.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
01st Mar 2019 17:45

Normally the evidence would be on the booking site with the available days listed.

Not being on a booking site is a bit odd unless its so popular its full with repeat business, which would then be well over the available condition on lets alone.

I am with the inspector on this one in digging a bit more.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By Tax Dragon
01st Mar 2019 18:01

After all there is, as you and Andy hint at, a commerciality test, before you get onto counting days.

Thanks (2)
By frankfx
03rd Mar 2019 20:42

invoices raised


email records

contact details, for marketing purposes etc.

payment to cleaner or handover team

gas meter and electric meter readings

the above will all support the spreadsheet and accounting records

an owner of a FHL would normally go out of their way to protect the FHL status of a property, more so if usage would appear to be opaque.

out of interest, does client have fee protection cover?

Thanks (1)
By Kaylee100
04th Mar 2019 04:28

As others say, it would normally be the booking agents record. As they fulfil this role themselves, how do they arrange bookings when people call, so they know they arent double booking?

Ive a client with a few caravans who does this. She keeps a large annual board, ruled for each day. Thats used to fill in bookings made, names, contact details, deposits, balances due and balances paid.

So, is all this on the spreadsheet? Maybe they use diaries? Must be something they use to identify who is booked to be there at any one time.

Thanks (1)