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Reforming the Property Tax in Developing Countries: A New Approach

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Abstract

The property tax is almost everyone’s choice for the principal local government tax revenue source in developing countries. The focus of public policy on this tax, and the interest it has drawn from public finance scholars and practitioners are evidence of its importance. Moreover, both external donors and national governments have invested significant money in strengthening its administration. Despite all of the good work that has been done in designing more efficient property tax structures and administrations however, property tax revenues account for less than one percent of GDP and less than 4 percent of all tax revenues in developing countries. In terms of revenue mobilization in developing countries, the property tax is an afterthought. But the interest continues. In this paper we propose a different paradigm for property tax reform in developing countries. The unified property tax that we outline here would bring together and restructure the traditional urban property tax, property transfer taxes and various forms of land value increment taxes, and could generate enough revenue to justify the significant administrative costs involved.

Suggested Citation

  • Roy Bahl & Sally Wallace, 2008. "Reforming the Property Tax in Developing Countries: A New Approach," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0819, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0819
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    File URL: http://icepp.gsu.edu/files/2015/03/ispwp0819.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David L. Sjoquist, 2004. "The Land Value Tax in Jamaica:An Analysis and Options for Reform," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0426, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    2. Alm, James & Annez, Patricia & Modi, Arbind, 2004. "Stamp duties in Indian states - a case for reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3413, The World Bank.
    3. Roy Bahl, 2004. "Property Transfer Tax and Stamp Duty," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0427, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roy Bahl, 2017. "Metropolitan city finances in Asia and the Pacific region: issues, problems and reform options," MPDD Working Paper Series WP/17/04, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
    2. Fabio Sánchez & Irina España, 2013. "Estructura, Potencial y Desafíos del Impuesto Predial en Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 011893, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    3. Cristian Sepulveda & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2012. "Explaining property tax collections in developing countries: the case of Latin America," Chapters,in: Decentralization and Reform in Latin America, chapter 7, pages iii-iii Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Fabio Sánchez Torres & Irina España Eljaiek & Jannet Zenteno, 2012. "Sub-national Revenue Mobilization in Latin American and Caribbean Countries: The Case of Colombia," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4191, Inter-American Development Bank.

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