FIG Peer Review Journal


Sustainability and Property Taxation (4869)

Frances Plimmer and William J McCluskey (United Kingdom)
Professor Dr Frances Plimmer
Senior Research Officer
The College of Estate Management
United Kingdom
Corresponding author Professor Dr Frances Plimmer (email: f.plimmer[at], tel.: + 44 1189 214 667)

[ abstract ] [ paper ] [ handouts ]

Published on the web 2011-03-16
Received 2010-11-22 / Accepted 2011-02-10
This paper is one of selection of papers published for the FIG Working Week 2011 in Marrakech, Morocco and has undergone the FIG Peer Review Process.

FIG Working Week 2011
ISBN 978-87-90907-92-1 ISSN 2307-4086


This paper discusses sustainability in the context of property taxation. It opines that sustainability in property taxation should be considered from three perspectives – the sustainability of the tax object (land and buildings); the sustainability of the tax system itself; and the sustainability of the uses to which the yield from property taxation are put. We argue that achieving concepts of sustainability within each of these aspects of property taxation is important to developing a virtuous circle within the property tax itself, where the property tax yield enhances the value of the taxed object and thus the assessment, which in turn ensures increased revenue to be spent on improving public services. In this way, a sustainable property tax has the potential to make a significant and positive contribution towards achieving sustainable communities. The paper demonstrates examples of both unsustainable and sustainable practices from various jurisdictions, and makes recommendations to improve sustainable outcomes where appropriate. The paper also reviews the positive characteristics of property taxation and reflects on these within a sustainable context. The paper concludes with the view that, given the ubiquitous and fundamental nature of property taxation to the ‘wealth’, well-being and life-style of the vast majority of people and to the provision of ‘front line’ services to local communities, these three aspects of sustainability for property taxation should be goals to be discussed by policy makers and all relevant stakeholders, and recognised as desirable outcomes to be achieved, because of their vital importance to the creation and development of sustainable communities and real estate resources world-wide.
Keywords: Property taxes; sustainability