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International Handbook of Land and Property Taxation

Edited by Richard M. Bird and Enid Slack

This comprehensive Handbook explores case studies of land and property taxation in 25 countries (five in each of five regions – OECD, central and eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America), and focuses on the potential contributions of the property tax to the revenues of urban and rural governments and to more efficient land use.
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Chapter 3: Reforming Property Taxes

Richard M. Bird and Enid Slack


Richard M. Bird and Enid Slack Over the last few years, a number of the countries included in this book have implemented, or attempted to implement, property tax reform. The nature and extent of reform have of course been different in different countries, depending on the need for reform and the context in which the reform took place. For example, some countries have made changes to the tax base and tax rates; others have focused reform efforts on improvements to the administration of the tax. In this chapter we briefly review recent experience with property tax reform in six countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Colombia, Indonesia and Kenya.1 Reasons for reform The reasons for undertaking property tax reform vary from country to country. In some countries, property tax reform was part of an overall reform of local government structure and finance. In other countries, it was part of a reform of the overall tax system. In still other countries, property tax reform has been carried out on its own, without being part of other government initiatives. The main stated reasons for reform in the six countries examined in detail in this book have been (1) to simplify the tax system, (2) to raise more revenues from property taxes, and (3) to remove inequities in the tax system. In almost all cases, particular attention was paid to the reform of the assessment system, either because it was seriously out of date or because there was a desire to move...

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