Owners of second homes who abuse a tax loophole by claiming their often-empty properties are holiday lets will be forced to pay council tax under new measures announced by the government today.

The changes will target people who take advantage of the system to avoid paying their fair share towards local services in popular destinations, such as Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, the Lake District, Suffolk and Sussex.

Currently, owners of second homes in England can avoid paying council tax and access small business rates relief by simply declaring an intention to let the property out to holidaymakers.

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