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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 18: Land and Property Taxation in Tunisia

François Vaillancourt


François Vaillancourt1 There are two levels of local administration in Tunisia – the 24 ‘conseils régionaux’ (CR or regional councils) and the 262 ‘communes urbaines’ (CU, or urban municipalities). CR, which cover the entire territory of Tunisia, are deconcentrated units administered by an appointed council reporting to a governor. In contrast, CU are administered by elected councils and mayors. CU accounted for 61 percent of the population (8 785 000) of Tunisia in 1994 (last census). They range in size from Tunis (638 600) to small communes (about 1000). Land and property taxes, while applied in both CU and CR, raise significant revenues only in CU since housing units in CR have a low value and agricultural land is not taxed. In 1996, 94 percent of the autonomous revenues (direct taxes, indirect tax, and sales and fee revenues) collected by both levels of local administration were collected by CU. Land and property taxation was reformed in Tunisia in February 1997 (retroactive to 1 January 1997). This reform pursued three goals: ● ● ● to increase the importance, absolute and relative, of tax revenues in the total revenues of local governments in Tunisia; to make more uniform and simplify taxation of housing units; to improve the distribution of business tax collections (TCL, originally taxe des collectivités locales, now Taxes sur les établissements à caractère industriel, commercial ou professionnel) across CU. The second goal was pursued by switching from taxing housing units using a rental value approach (legally based on rental amounts...

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