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Administrative policy issues and options

Discovering properties to be added to the fiscal cadastre It is difficult to overstress the importance of local knowledge in the discovery process. People on the ground who know and understand the neighborhoods are vital in the detection of changing land use and new development. At the same time, new technologies can be used to good advantage by cadastre managers. • Aerial photos and satellite images are especially useful in preparing initial land surveys and spot checking data records •

Geographic information systems (GIS) are very valuable as a database for tracking land and improvements and can be used in the valuation process as well. GIS systems may require cooperation with other government entities in order to share expense and expertise.

Land surveys with physical inventories of land, land use and improvements are important but can be time consuming and expensive. One option is to partition the city into zones and work systematically through each zone over an extended period of time. Each property in the city should be visited at least every five to seven years.

Self-declaration can be a valuable tool in many instances. To be effective, they require a simple process, well designed and easy to understand forms, multiple points of access for taxpayers to receive help in completing the forms, and sound audit procedures to assure compliance.

Any list of properties, households or businesses can be used to augment information in the fiscal cadastre. Utility and business license records can be checked for customers that might not be on the cadastre.

The impact of past policy decisions that exempted property should also be evaluated.

Discovering new properties and adding them to the cadastre is an ongoing task. Left neglected for any length of time and the fiscal cadastre can become seriously outdated. Egypt, for example, conducted an evaluation of their fiscal cadastre in 2005. At the time, a recent census indicated that there were just over 19 million property units in the country. A field survey was conducted in two areas that suggested the census number was about 10 percent too low, so the total property units was thought to be about 21 million. Of these, only 3.5 million were paying the annual property tax. Of the remainder, 6.5 million had been exempted by previous laws, 1.9 million had been missed and 9 million were outside the long established tax zones. Thus, 83 percent of the potential property units were not included in the fiscal cadastre. of data. Land owners were asked to voluntarily report the location of their property, the type and area of the structure, how the property was used (residential or commercial), and estimated depreciation. Taxpayers were asked to calculate the rental value of their property from schedules provided by the city. These schedules were based on location (six zones within the city), usage (16 property classifications), type of construction (three bands of construction cost) and age of

the structure. Taxpayers then calculated the tax due and were asked to pay the tax at designated banks. This self-assessed taxable value was then fixed for five years. The city did impose both minimum and maximum capitalization rates for arriving at rental values, and importantly, five percent of all self-declarations were audited for accuracy.

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Land and Property Tax  

In the Guide, you will find answers to questions such as why land and property taxes are often an important source of local revenue, what th...

Land and Property Tax  

In the Guide, you will find answers to questions such as why land and property taxes are often an important source of local revenue, what th...

Profile for unhabitat