Double council tax-rate from next April would see second-home owners in Ceredigion pay tax premiums

SECOND home-owners in Ceredigion could be paying a double council tax rate from next April is a recommendation before the council next week is backed.

Ceredigion County Council’s full meeting, being held on December 14, is recommended to back a Cabinet-supported proposal to raise the county’s second homes council tax premiums to 100 per cent, effectively a double rate, with a further increase – to 150 per cent – to follow.

Ceredigion currently has a 25 per cent premium on both second homes and empty properties, while neighbouring authority Pembrokeshire currently has a 100 per cent premium for second homes.

New Welsh Government local tax rules now allow local authorities being to collect council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties at up to 300 per cent.

Ceredigion, and neighbouring Pembrokeshire, recently held public consultations on potential changes to second home and empty property council tax premiums, with senior Pembrokeshire councillors backing a 200 per cent premium in the case of second homes.

Members of Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet, meeting on December 5, unanimously backed a recommendation to increase in the premium on second homes in two tranches: to 100 per cent, effective from April 1 of next year, and to 150 per cent from April 1, 2025.

Members also unanimously backed increases in the empty properties tax premium, from the current 25 per cent, to 100 per cent for properties empty for up to five years, 150 per cent for five-ten years, and 200 per cent for over ten years.

Cabinet backing took the form of a recommendation to the full council meeting of December 14, where the final decision will be made, with the same decision date also applying in Pembrokeshire.

There are also several council tax exemptions, both for second homes and empty properties, and there is also a process in place for the council to consider Discretionary Hardship relief where for example there is significant financial hardship, or an exceptional circumstance has occurred.

Second homes

Areas with the highest proportion of second homes in the county are mostly coastal, the highest being New Quay, with a 27.2 per cent rate, followed by Llangrannog 17.1, Borth 14.1, Pontarfynach 11, Penbryn 9.6, Aberaeron 9.1, and Aberporth 8.4.

Long-term empty properties were greatest in more urban areas: Aberporth 2.2 per cent, Aberystwyth 1.8, Cardigan 1.5, and Llandysul 1.5.

The recent Ceredigion public consultation saw 1,403 responses, the majority (72 per cent) of those not owning a long-term empty property thought it was appropriate to increase the premium; with a majority (85 per cent) of those owning such a property against an increase.

On second homes, just over half of respondents who did not own one thought an increase was appropriate, favouring an increase to 100 per cent, or even 150, with 94 per cent of second home-owners not wanting an increase.

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