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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 26: Property Tax in Chile

Ignacio Irarrazaval


Ignacio Irarrazaval Chile is a unitary country divided into 13 regions, 51 provinces and 341 communes. In each region, the central government appoints an ‘Intendente’ who is the President’s representative for the region and coordinates all the ministerial branches at the regional level. Each ministry, such as education, has its Ministerial Secretariat at the regional level. Additionally, the Intendente is accountable to a regional council of 10 to 18 people appointed indirectly from municipal councilors. The main function of this council is to allocate the national intergovernmental transfers for investment within the region. At the provincial level, there is a governor who is also appointed by the central government with the principal task of administering public order. The commune territory is administered by the municipality, which is headed by an ‘Alcalde’. Both alcaldes and municipal councilors are elected by universal vote. Chile has a very strong centralized tradition inherited from the Spanish colonial era. In the last two decades however, successive governments have instituted a variety of decentralization initiatives. One result is that today 50 percent of total public investment is decided at the regional level. The property tax (impuesto territorial or contribución a las bienes raíces) is a national tax in Chile. It is assessed and administered by the national government. Although all the revenue from the tax goes to municipalities, it is important to note that only 40 percent of the revenues collected from the tax goes to (remains) in the municipality where the property is...

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