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Taxing Land and Property in Emerging Economies: Raising Revenue...and More?

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  • Richard M. Bird

    ()
    (International Tax Program, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto)

Abstract

This paper discusses the roles that real property taxes may potentially play in developing countries both as a source of local revenue and as part of land use policy. We then describe how very far reality diverges from this prescription and note some reasons why it may prove more difficult to reform property taxes than other taxes. To move forward with property tax reform one must not only be modest with respect to the real potential for change but also careful to get some critical details right. In particular, we argue that it seldom makes sense to move quickly to a modern ‘market value’ system in less developed countries. We also suggest that emerging countries should focus primarily on developing a sound local property tax rather than venturing down this path of trying to use land and property taxes primarily as instruments of land policy. Finally, we conclude by using the case of China to stress the need to pay much more attention to the quite different rural and urban situations in developing countries in designing and implementing land and property taxes as an effective source of local revenue.

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File URL: http://www-2.rotman.utoronto.ca/iib/ITP0605.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto in its series International Tax Program Papers with number 0605.

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Length: 44 Pages
Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ttp:itpwps:0605

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Related research

Keywords: land tax; property tax; land use policy; China;

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References

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  1. Richard Bird, 1984. "Put up or shut up: Self-assessment and asymmetric information," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 3(4), pages 618-620.
  2. Richard M. Bird, 2004. "Getting it Right: Financing Urban Development in China," International Tax Program Papers 0413, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised Nov 2004.
  3. Richard M. Bird, 2005. "Value-Added Taxes in Developing and Transitional Countries: Lessons and Questions," International Tax Program Papers 0505, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  4. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle.
  5. Fischel, William A., 2001. "Homevoters, Municipal Corporate Governance, and the Benefit View of the Property Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 157-74, March.
  6. Richard Bird & Christine C.P.Wong, 2005. "China's Fiscal System: A Work in Progress," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0520, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  7. Jonathan A. Rodden & Gunnar S. Eskeland (ed.), 2003. "Fiscal Decentralization and the Challenge of Hard Budget Constraints," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262182297, December.
  8. Richard M. bird, 2003. "Taxation in Latin America: Reflections on Sustainability and the Balance between Equity and Efficiency," International Tax Program Papers 0306, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  9. Dillinger, William, 1991. "Urban property tax reform : guidelines and recommendations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 710, The World Bank.
  10. Zodrow, George R., 2001. "The Property Tax as a Capital Tax: A Room with Three Views," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 139-56, March.
  11. Jing Jin & Chunli Shen & Heng-fu Zou, 2011. "Fiscal Decentralization and Peasants' Financial Burden in China," CEMA Working Papers 490, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  12. Chun-Chung Au & Vernon Henderson, 2002. "How Migration Restrictions Limit Agglomeration and Productivity in China," NBER Working Papers 8707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Timothy J. Bartik, 2003. "Local Economic Development Policies," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 03-91, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  14. Kitchen, H.M. & Slack, E., 1993. "Business Property Taxation," Papers 93-24, Queen's at Kingston - School of Policy Studies.
  15. Sjoquist, David L. & Walker, Mary Beth, 1999. "Economies of Scale in Property Tax Assessment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 207-20, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Bird, Richard M., 2010. "Subnational taxation in developing countries : a review of the literature," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5450, The World Bank.
  2. Bird, Richard M., 2008. "Tax challenges facing developing countries," Working Papers 08/als1, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
  3. Richard M. Bird, 2008. "Tax Assignment Revisited," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0805, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  4. Richard M. Bird & Enid Slack, 2006. "The Role of the Property Tax in Financing Rural Local Governments in Developing Countries," International Tax Program Papers 0608, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

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