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Property Tax Delinquency - Social Contract in Crisis: The Case of Detroit

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  • Alm, James
  • Hodge, Timothy R.
  • Sands, Gary
  • Skidmore, Mark

Abstract

In this paper we develop a theoretical model of the individual decision to become delinquent on one’s property tax payments. We then apply the model to the City of Detroit, Michigan, USA, where the city is in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, and a rate of property tax delinquency of 48 percent, resulting in uncollected tax revenues of about 20 percent. We use detailed parcellevel data for Detroit to evaluate the factors that affect both the probability that a property owner is tax delinquent and, conditional upon delinquency, the magnitude of the delinquency. Our estimates show that properties that have lower value, longer police response times, are nonhomestead (non-owner occupied residential properties), have a higher statutory tax rate, have a higher assessed value relative to sales price, are owned by a financial institution or by a Detroit resident, are delinquent on water bills, and for which the probability of enforcement is low are more likely to be tax delinquent These findings can be used to inform policies targeted at improving tax compliance within the City.

Suggested Citation

  • Alm, James & Hodge, Timothy R. & Sands, Gary & Skidmore, Mark, 2014. "Property Tax Delinquency - Social Contract in Crisis: The Case of Detroit," Working Paper Series 3149, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:vuw:vuwcpf:3149
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    File URL: http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/handle/10063/3149
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Agnar Sandmo, 2012. "An evasive topic: theorizing about the hidden economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(1), pages 5-24, February.
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    3. Timothy R. Hodge & Mark Skidmore & Gary Sands & Daniel McMillen, 2013. "Tax Base Erosion and Inequity from Michigan's Assessment Growth Limit: The Case of Detroit," CESifo Working Paper Series 4098, CESifo.
    4. Allingham, Michael G. & Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Income tax evasion: a theoretical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3-4), pages 323-338, November.
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    7. Alm, James & McClelland, Gary H & Schulze, William D, 1999. "Changing the Social Norm of Tax Compliance by Voting," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 141-171.
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    Keywords

    Property tax; Delinquency; Tax compliance;
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