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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 10: Property Taxation in India

Gautam Naresh


Gautam Naresh1 India is a federal union of states. Supremacy of the Constitution and division of power between the union and state governments are its prime characteristics. The Union of India is a three-tier polity consisting of a union government, second-tier governments and third-tier governments. There are 28 states and 7 union territories (five of them are without legislature). The union territories are administered by the union government but are not part of it. At the third tier of local level governance there are 101 municipal corporations (larger cities), 1430 municipal councils and 2009 Nagar Panchayats2 for municipal (urban) governance. For rural governance there are 222 108 Gram Panchayats (village-level units), 5736 Gram Samitis (intermediate-level bodies), and 457 District Panchayats (district-level bodies).3 The Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India, 1951, places the levy of taxes on land and buildings in the State List. The states in turn have authorized the local governments to levy, collect and appropriate the tax subject to certain taxes, duties, tolls and fees assigned to them in accordance with procedures and limits. Thus municipal governments do not have powers of taxing properties but derive them from the state governments.4 Each state has its own Municipal Acts with differing scope, phraseology, tax powers, and so on. The levy of the property tax is obligatory in some Municipal Acts such as those in Haryana, Karnataka and Maharashtra, but optional in others such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. The...

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