FAO Publications

Decentralization and rural property taxation

The FAO guide on Decentralization and rural property taxation has been prepared to assist land administrators who are involved with the design and implementation of rural property tax systems. Increasingly, land tenure institutions are being called upon to support the decentralization of services to local governments.

One expectation of decentralization is improved delivery of services by the level of government that is closest to the beneficiaries of those services. While the scope of services being allocated to local governments has expanded, many rural local governments lack the revenues needed for them to fulfill their new responsibilities. Revenues can be increased through the use of local property taxes. The guide provides advice to countries that wish to introduce new property tax systems or to expand or reform existing systems.

It shows why local governments should have a reasonable degree of fiscal autonomy If they are to make the delivery of rural services more efficient and effective, and It describes how rural property taxes can be a vital source of revenue for rural communities. The guide identifies policy, administrative and technical issues that should be considered In the design of rural property taxes, and provides a chronological checklist for the implementation of reforms.

Decentralization and rural property taxation. FAO Land Tenure Studies 7. Published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome, 2004.
ISBN 92-5-105144-5
Available in English and Russian