Land value tax

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Land Value Tax)
Jump to: navigation, search

A land value tax (or site valuation tax) is a levy on the unimproved value of land only. It is an ad valorem tax on land that disregards the value of buildings, personal property and other improvements. A land value tax (LVT) is different from other property taxes, which are taxes on the whole value of real estate: the combination of land, buildings, and improvements to the site.

Although the economic efficiency of a land value tax has been established knowledge since Adam Smith,[1] it was perhaps most famously promoted by Henry George. In his best selling work Progress and Poverty (1879), George argued that when the site or location value of land was improved by public works, its economic rent was the most logical source of public revenue.[2] A land value tax is also a progressive tax, in that it would be paid primarily by the wealthy, and would reduce economic inequality.[3] The philosophy that land rents extracted from nature should be captured by society and used to replace taxes is often now known as Georgism.

Land value taxation is currently implemented throughout Denmark,[4] Estonia, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. The tax has been applied in subregions of Australia (New South Wales), Mexico (Mexicali), and the United States (Pennsylvania). Land value taxation is known as site-value tax, LVT, split rate tax, and site-value rating.

Economic effects[edit]

The value of the land (and many other macro-economic quantities too) can be expressed using two independent concepts:

  • The value, or, strictly speaking, the price, of a particular site of land is what a fair exchange brings in terms of money during an agreed trade or transaction between two parties, one of whom is the landowner. (This definition is conditional on no LVT being applied, because when it does apply, the exchange value is affected.)
  • The land value of the site is also directly related to its demandable ground-rent, which is its potential for use in either production or residential capacities. The capitalization of this rent gives the land value too. Land which is not useful has no value and is called marginal land, as explained by British economist David Ricardo in 1816.

Efficiency[edit]

A supply and demand diagram showing the effects of land value taxation. If the supply of land is fixed, the burden of the tax will fall entirely on the land owner, with no deadweight loss.

Most taxes distort economic decisions.[5] If labor, buildings or machinery and plants (factories) are taxed, people are dissuaded from constructive and beneficial activities, and enterprise and efficiency are penalized due to the excess burden of taxation. This does not apply to LVT, which is payable regardless of whether or how well the land is actually used. Because the supply of land is inelastic, land rents depend on what tenants are prepared to pay, rather than on the expenses of landlords, and so LVT cannot be directly passed on to tenants.[6] The direct beneficiaries of incremental improvements to the surrounding neighborhood by others would be the land's occupants, and absentee landlords would benefit only by virtue of price competition amongst present and prospective tenants for those incremental benefits; the only direct effect of LVT on prices in this case is to lower the unearned increment (reduce the amount of the socially generated benefit that is privately captured as an increase in the market price of the land). Put another way, LVT is often said to be justified for economic reasons because if it is implemented properly, it will not deter production, distort market mechanisms or otherwise create deadweight losses the way other taxes do.[7] Nobel Prize winner William Vickrey believed that "removing almost all business taxes, including property taxes on improvements, excepting only taxes reflecting the marginal social cost of public services rendered to specific activities, and replacing them with taxes on site values, would substantially improve the economic efficiency of the jurisdiction."[8] A correlation between the use of LVT at the expense of traditional property taxes and greater market efficiency is predicted by economic theory, and has been observed in practice.[9]

Proponents, such as Fred Foldvary, state that the necessity to pay the tax encourages landowners to develop vacant and underused land properly or to make way for others who will. They state that because LVT deters speculative land holding, dilapidated inner city areas are returned to productive use, reducing the pressure to build on undeveloped sites and so reducing urban sprawl.[10] For example Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the United States has taxed land at a rate six times that on improvements since 1975, and this policy has been credited by its long-time mayor, Stephen R. Reed with reducing the number of vacant structures in downtown Harrisburg from around 4,200 in 1982 to fewer than 500. LVT is an ecotax because it ostensibly discourages the waste of locations, which are a finite natural resource.[11][12][13]

LVT is an efficient tax to collect due to its immobility. Unlike labour and capital, land cannot move to escape tax.[14]

Many urban planners claim that a land value tax is an effective method to promote transit-oriented development.[15][16]

Real estate values[edit]

Real estate bubbles direct savings towards rent seeking activities rather than other investments, and can contribute to recessions which damage the entire economy. Advocates of the land tax claim that it reduces the speculative element in land pricing, thereby leaving more money for productive capital investment and making the economy more stable.[17]

If the value to landowners were reduced to zero or near zero by recovering effectively all its rent, total privately held asset values could decline as the land value element was stripped out, representing a shift in apparent private sector wealth. Since landowners often possess significant political influence, this has significantly deterred the adoption of land value taxes.[18]

Practical issues[edit]

There are several practical issues involved in the implementation of a land value tax. Most notably, it needs to be:

  • Calculated fairly and accurately,
  • High enough to raise sufficient revenue without causing land abandonment, and
  • Billed to the correct person or business entity.

Assessments/Appraisals[edit]

In theory, levying a land value tax is straightforward, requiring only a valuation of the land and a register of the identities of the landholders. There is no need for the tax payers to deal with complicated forms or to give up personal information as with an income tax. Because land cannot be hidden, removed to a tax haven or concealed in an electronic data system,[19] the tax cannot be evaded.

However, critics point out that determining the value of land can be difficult in practice. In a 1796 United States Supreme Court opinion, Justice William Paterson noted that leaving the valuation process up to assessors would cause numerous bureaucratic complexities, as well as non-uniform assessments due to imperfect policies and their interpretations.[20] Austrian School economist Murray Rothbard later raised similar concerns, stating that no government can fairly assess value, which can only be determined by a free market.[21]

However, firstly, as Steven Spadijer has pointed out, the free market is already determining the taxable value of the land. For example, valuators in the home-and-contents insurance industry are already performing such a function on a daily basis when, in order to calculate an insurance premium, the valuator must separate the value of the home from the indestructible value of the land beneath the home itself. Thus, land value for LVT purposes is assessed using market evidence. Such evidence may comprise both selling prices and rentals. Where development already exists on a site, the value of the site can be discovered by various means, of which the most easily understood is the residual method: the value of the site is the total value of the property minus the depreciated value of buildings and other structures. This may explain why the system involves little fuss and relative ease in the places where it has been implemented. Secondly, when compared to modern day property tax evaluations, valuations of land involve fewer variables and have smoother gradients than valuations that include improvements. This is due to variation of building style, quality and size between lots. Modern computerization and statistical techniques have eased the process; in the 1960s and 1970s, multivariate analysis was introduced as a method of assessing land.[22]

Usually, the valuation process commences with a measurement of the most and least valuable land within the taxation area. A few sites of intermediate value are then identified and used as "landmark" values. Other values are filled in between the landmark values. The data is then collated on a database and linked to a unique property reference number,[23] "smoothed" and mapped using a geographic information system (GIS). Thus, even if the initial valuation is difficult, once the system is in use, successive valuations become easier.

Limited revenue[edit]

In this case, land is taxed at 100% of its rental value, eliminating the landowner surplus completely. Land tax revenues cannot be raised beyond this point.

In the context of land value taxation as a single tax (replacing all other taxes), some have argued that LVT alone cannot raise large enough revenues.[24] However, this is to ignore the fact that other taxes have the effect of reducing land values and hence the amount of revenue that can be raised from them. The Physiocrats argued that all taxes are ultimately at the expense of land rental values. Most modern LVT systems are alongside other taxes, and thus only reduce their impact without removing them completely. In a case or event where a jurisdiction attempted to levy a land tax that was higher than the entire landowner surplus, it would result in landowner abandonment and a sharp decline in tax revenue.[25]

Requires clear ownership[edit]

In some countries, LVT is nearly impossible to implement because of lack of certainty regarding land titles and clearly established land ownership and tenure. For instance a parcel of grazing land may be communally owned by the inhabitants of a nearby village and administered by the village elders. In these situations, the land in question would need to be vested in a trust or similar body for taxation purposes. If the government cannot accurately define ownership boundaries and ascertain the proper owners, it cannot know from whom to collect the tax. The phenomenon of lack of clear titles is found worldwide in developing countries[26] and is in part the subject of the work of the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto. In African countries with imperfect land registration, boundaries may be poorly surveyed, the landlord can be elusive and would have to be identified, or made to identify himself, otherwise it would be significantly more difficult to tax than occupants. Most governments require that tax collectors track owners down nonetheless so that the burden of the tax does not fall on the poor.[27]

Land Value Tax Incentives[edit]

As a model of how Land Value Taxation affects incentives, take for example a vacant lot in the center of a vibrant and growing city. Any landowner that must pay a tax for such a lot will perceive holding it vacant as a financial liability instead of an investment that passively rises in value.

A Land Value Tax does not increase the purchasing price of land. Tax incidence rests completely upon landlords. This is to say that landlords can not collectively raise the overall market price of land as a result of the tax.

Buyers will not pay for the anticipated appreciation of land since such appreciation is taxed away. From the seller's perspective, land costs more to continuously maintain ownership of. Thus, Land Value Taxation gives buyers of unused/underused parcels in central locations increased leverage over sellers who would use it productively.

Similarly, the selling price of anything that is fixed in supply will not increase if it is taxed.[citation needed] Since there is, for all intents and purposes, a fixed supply of land, a land value tax is paid by the land owner.

Furthermore, unlike taxing goods that carry higher purchasing prices as a result of higher production costs, land does not increase in price when taxed. This is because land simply exists. It is not produced by individual land owners.

For these same reasons, a land value tax is also not passed on to tenants as higher rent. Landlords are impelled to make land available to tenants as a means of generating the funds required to pay the Land Value Tax. Relatively speaking, landlords compete with other landlords for tenants instead of tenants competing with each other for space.

Land Value Taxation creates an impetus to either use a site for an income generating purpose, such as apartments, store fronts, office space, etc. or to sell part or all of the site. Of course, anyone who purchases the land will be faced with the same incentive, which is to use it or lose it.

The Land Value Tax paid per surface area is high in locations with high land values, especially cities. In vibrant cities, under use of land in the form of buildings which are underused, short, or even derelict are generally speaking converted to more intensive uses. Of course vacant or ground-level parking lots are also generally converted to building space and parking structures.

Such incentives result in an increase in the supply of space for living, working, recreation, etc. Assuming constant demand, an increase in supply of constructed space, i.e. substitutes for land, decrease the rent paid for such space.

This is especially relevant since land value taxes are often used to replace taxes on buildings, among other taxes. Of course, taxes on buildings restrict the supply of building space. A revenue neutral shift from buildings to land increases the supply of building space more than a land value tax alone.

In a city, infill of poorly utilized space effectively combats sprawl,allowing people to live closer to the city centre for the same cost.

Taxing land reduces the incentive for tax evasion. Multi-national corporations for instance can not take land with them overseas. Land values are considered public information unlike income, sales, etc. GIS maps provide a means to easily compare taxes paid on land values. Such transparency reduces landowners' ability to evade the tax.

Ethics[edit]

In religious terms, it has been claimed that land is a common gift to all of mankind.[28] For example, the Catholic Church as part of its "Universal Destination" principle asserts:

Everyone knows that the Fathers of the Church laid down the duty of the rich toward the poor in no uncertain terms. As St. Ambrose put it: "You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich."[29]

Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio

Land acquires a scarcity value owing to the competing needs of the community for living, working and leisure space. According to proponents,[30] the unimproved value of land owes nothing to the individual efforts of the landowner and everything to the community at large. These supporters suggest that the value of land belongs justly and uniquely to the community.

Equity[edit]

A land value tax takes into account the effect on land value of location, or of improvements made to neighbouring land, such as proximity to roads, public works or a shopping complex. LVT is said to act as value capture tax.[31] A new public works project may make adjacent land go up considerably in value, and thus, with a tax on land values, the tax on adjacent land goes up. Thus, the new public improvements would be paid for by those most benefited by the new public improvements — those whose land value went up most.[32] Thus, a land value tax would tax socially created wealth, allowing a reduction in tax on privately created wealth.[33]

Additionally, a land value tax is also a progressive tax, in that it would be paid primarily by the wealthy, and would reduce economic inequality.[3] Thus it would be paid for by those with a higher ability to pay, and reduce the tax burden of lower income families.

History[edit]

Pre-modern[edit]

Land value taxation has ancient roots, tracing back to after the introduction of agriculture. One of the oldest forms of taxation, it was originally based on crop yield. This early version of the tax required simply sharing the yield at the time of the harvest, akin to paying a yearly rent.[34]

Thousands of years before Henry George and the French Physiocrats, the Aryan sages of ancient India described the issue of land rent and a very similar solution. "The earth ...is common to all beings enjoying the fruit of their own labour; it belongs...to all alike"; therefore, "there should be left some for everyone". Gautama’s rule states that the king "shall live on the surplus", which means levying a tax on the difference of the more productive sites over and above the less productive (i.e. marginal). Apastamba said "If any person holding land does not exert himself and hence bears no produce, he shall, if rich, be made to pay what ought to have been produced". Land, in other words, should not be held out of production – particularly the land of central sites which are the most wanted and thus command the largest rent or surplus value.

Under the Mosaic law of ancient Israel a Jubilee took place every 49 years in which lands were returned to their original tribal ownership in order to restore equality among the Israelites. If land was lost because of debts, the land was to be returned during the jubilee therefore land could not be sold or foreclosed permanently. "And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and settlers with Me" (Leviticus 25 verse 23). As with most cultures, property rights regarding land, slaves and indentured servants were less absolute than for other property rights such as for tools and personal artefacts.

For Aristotle, the most basic and natural means of acquiring wealth was by applying labor to land. He defined "unnatural" transactions as attempts to gather wealth that were not linked to the satisfaction of actual needs in society. Aristotle favoured cultivation of land as the most honest and natural occupation because he saw that the wealth that arises is not due to the efforts of others. A farmer working land is creating "natural" wealth, while a landowner that is renting land only for personal enrichment was engaged in an "unnatural transaction". Aristotle considered extracting natural resources to be less honest than farming but more natural than commerce.

Plato's allotments in The Laws reads "Let the apportionment be made with this understanding that the citizen who receives his plot must consider it as common property of the whole State: since this land is his fatherland he should tend it even more diligently than a mother her children – in as much as being a goddess she is mistress over mortals"

During the Middle-Ages, in the west, the first regular and permanent land tax system was based on a unit of land known as the hide. The hide was originally an amount of land sufficient to support a household, but later became subject to a land tax known as "geld".[35]

Ancient China[edit]

Mencius[36] was a Chinese philosopher who advocated for land tax around 300 BCE.

"In past times, when King Wen ruled at the city of Qí, he took only one part in nine as a tax on those who tilled the land [a land tax], and those who served his government inherited their stipends. At the border, goods in trade were inspected but no fees were levied [no import duties restricting free trade], [and] no restrictions were placed on the use of fish traps installed by dams and weirs [no taxes on capital goods]."[37]

Physiocrats[edit]

Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, one of the leading physiocrats.

The physiocrats were a group of economists who believed that the wealth of nations was derived solely from the value of land agriculture or land development. Physiocracy is considered one of the "early modern" schools of economics. Physiocrats called for the abolition of all existing taxes, completely free trade, and a single tax on land;[38] they did not distinguish, however, between intrinsic value of land and ground rent.[39] Their theories originated in France and were most popular during the second half of the 18th century. The movement was particularly dominated by Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (1727–1781) and François Quesnay (1694–1774).[40] It immediately preceded the first modern school, classical economics, which began with the publication of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations in 1776. The Physiocrats were also highly influential in the early history of land value taxation in the United States.

Radical movement[edit]

Thomas Paine contended in his Agrarian Justice pamphlet that all citizens should be paid 15 pounds at age 21 "as a compensation in part for the loss of his or her natural inheritance by the introduction of the system of landed property." "Men did not make the earth. It is the value of the improvements only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property. Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds."[41] This proposal was the origin of the citizen's dividend advocated by Geolibertarianism. Thomas Spence advocated a similar proposal except that the land rent would be distributed equally each year regardless of age.[42]

Classical economists[edit]

It was Adam Smith, in his book The Wealth of Nations, who first rigorously analyzed the effects of a land value tax, pointing out how it would not hurt economic activity, and how it would not raise land rents.

Ground-rents are a still more proper subject of taxation than the rent of houses. A tax upon ground-rents would not raise the rents of houses. It would fall altogether upon the owner of the ground-rent, who acts always as a monopolist, and exacts the greatest rent which can be got for the use of his ground. More or less can be got for it according as the competitors happen to be richer or poorer, or can afford to gratify their fancy for a particular spot of ground at a greater or smaller expense. In every country the greatest number of rich competitors is in the capital, and it is there accordingly that the highest ground-rents are always to be found. As the wealth of those competitors would in no respect be increased by a tax upon ground-rents, they would not probably be disposed to pay more for the use of the ground. Whether the tax was to be advanced by the inhabitant, or by the owner of the ground, would be of little importance. The more the inhabitant was obliged to pay for the tax, the less he would incline to pay for the ground; so that the final payment of the tax would fall altogether upon the owner of the ground-rent.


— Adam Smith , The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Chapter 2, Article I: Taxes upon the Rent of Houses

Georgism[edit]

Henry George in 1865.
Main article: Georgism

Henry George (2 September 1839 – 29 October 1897) was perhaps the most famous advocate of recovering land rents for public purposes. An American journalist, politician and political economist, he advocated a "Single Tax" on land that would eliminate the need for all other taxes. In 1879 he authored Progress and Poverty, which significantly influenced land taxation in the United States and many other countries, including Denmark, which still has the 'grundskyld' (Ground Duty) as a key component of the tax system.[43]

Meiji Restoration in Japan[edit]

After the 1868 Meiji Restoration in Japan, Land Tax Reform was undertaken. A land value tax was implemented beginning in 1873. By 1880 initial problems with valuation and rural opposition had been overcome and rapid industrialisation was underway.

Liberal and Labour Parties in the United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, LVT was an important part of the platform of the Liberal Party during the early part of the twentieth century: David Lloyd George and H. H. Asquith proposed "to free the land that from this very hour is shackled with the chains of feudalism."[44] It was also advocated by Winston Churchill early in his career.[45] The modern Liberal Party (not to be confused with the Liberal Democrats, which are the larger heir to the earlier Liberal Party but who also have some support for the idea[46]) remains committed to a local form of land value taxation,[47] as do the Green Party of England and Wales[48] and the Scottish Green Party.[49]

The 1931 Labour budget included a land value tax, but before it came into force it was repealed by the Conservative-dominated National Government that followed shortly after.[50]

An attempt at introducing site value taxation in the administrative County of London was made by the local authority under the leadership of Herbert Morrison in the 1938–9 Parliament, called the London Rating (Site Values) Bill. Although it failed, it sets out detailed legislation for the implementation of a system of land value taxation using annual value assessment.[51]

After 1945, the Labour Party adopted the policy, against the opposition of a substantial body of MPs, of attempting to collect "development value": the increase in land price arising from planning consent. This was one of the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 and it was repealed when the Labour government lost power in 1951.

Modern[edit]

In Principles (1890), Alfred Marshall argued in favour of a "fresh air rate", a tax to be charged to urban landowners and ‘‘levied on that special value of urban land which is caused by the concentration of population’’ (1961, vol. 1, p. 718n.). That ‘‘general rate’’ should have ‘‘to be spent on breaking out small green spots in the midst of dense industrial districts, and on the preservation of large green areas between different towns and between different suburbs which are tending to coalesce’’. This idea influenced Arthur Pigou's, Marshall's pupil, ideas on taxing negative externalities. http://www.eshet.net/conference/paper_view.php?id=811&p=33

Paul Samuelson strongly supported a land value tax. "Our ideal society finds it essential to put a rent on land as a way of maximizing the total consumption available to the society. ...Pure land rent is in the nature of a 'surplus' which can be taxed heavily without distorting production incentives or efficiency. A land value tax can be called 'the useful tax on measured land surplus'."

Milton Friedman stated: "There's a sense in which all taxes are antagonistic to free enterprise – and yet we need taxes. ...So the question is, which are the least bad taxes? In my opinion the least bad tax is the property tax on the unimproved value of land, the Henry George argument of many, many years ago."

Michael Hudson is a vocal proponent for taxing rent, especially land rent.".... politically, taxing economic rent has become the bête noir of neoliberal globalism. It is what property owners and rentiers fear most of all, as land, subsoil resources and natural monopolies far exceed industrial capital in magnitude. What appears in the statistics at first glance as "profit" turns out upon examination to be Ricardian or "economic" rent."

Paul Krugman agrees that a land value tax is efficient, however he disputes whether it should be considered a single tax, as he believes it would not be enough alone, excluding taxes on natural resource rents and other Georgistesque taxes, to fund a welfare state. "Believe it or not, urban economics models actually do suggest that Georgist taxation would be the right approach at least to finance city growth. But I would just say: I don’t think you can raise nearly enough money to run a modern welfare state by taxing land [only]." http://www.psmag.com/politics/this-land-is-your-land-3392/

The Nobelist Joseph Stiglitz writes "Not only was Henry George correct that a tax on land is non-distortionary, but in an equilibrium society ... tax on land raises just enough revenue to finance the (optimally chosen) level of government expenditure."

Canada[edit]

Land value taxes were common in Western Canada at the turn of the twentieth century. In Vancouver LVT became the sole form of municipal taxation in 1910 under the leadership of mayor, Louis D. Taylor.[52] Gary B. Nixon (2000) states that the rate never exceeded 2% of land value, too low to prevent the speculation which led directly to the massive 1913 real estate crash.[53] All Canadian provinces now have moved back to taxing improvements.

Existing tax systems[edit]

A comprehensive and detailed survey of land value taxation around the world was published in 2001.[54]

Australia[edit]

The Henry Tax Review recommended that state governments replace stamp duty on the sale of land with a Land Value Tax on all land, without exemption for a person's principal place of residence or farmland. The review did propose though, in recommendations 52 and 53 that the tax have a number of marginal rates and thus most agricultural land would be in the lowest band with a rate of zero. Only the Australian Capital Territory has moved to adopt this system and is reducing stamp duty by five percent for each of the next twenty years and raising land tax by five percent each year.

The state of New South Wales levies a state land value tax. However, unlike council rates, farmland and a person's principal place of residence are generally exempt and the state tax is only levied on value over a certain threshold. In New South Wales determination of land value, for tax purposes at a state and local level, is the responsibility of the Valuer-General.[55] The cities of Sydney, Canberra, and others in Australia use LVT. An in-depth study under the Chairmanship of Sir Gordon Chalk issued a report[56] in 1986 on the subject of local taxation for the city of Brisbane, Queensland. The report, which examined many alternative means of local finance, sets out comprehensive and concise arguments for LVT.

By revenue, property taxes represent 4.5% of total taxation in Australia.[57]

United States[edit]

Land value taxes are used in various jurisdictions of the United States, particularly in the state of Pennsylvania. The city of Altoona adopted a land value tax in 2002.

In the late 19th century followers of Henry George founded a single tax colony at Fairhope, Alabama. Although the colony, now a nonprofit corporation, still holds land in the area and collects a relatively small ground rent, the land is still subject to all other state and local taxes.[58]

Hong Kong[edit]

In Hong Kong, a government rent, formerly the crown rent, is levied in addition to Rates. For properties which are located in the New Territories (including New Kowloon), or located in the rest of the territory and of which the land grant take place after 27 May 1985, the government rent is levied at 3% of the rateable rental value.[59][60]

Other countries[edit]

Pure LVT, apart from real estate or generic property taxation, is used in Taiwan, Singapore, and Estonia.[61]

Several cities around the world also use LVT (e.g. see Australia, above). It has also been used in Mexicali, Mexico.[62]

Countries with active discussion[edit]

China[edit]

China's Real Rights Law contains fundamental provisions founded on a land value taxation analysis.[63]

Ireland[edit]

In 2010 the then government of Ireland announced that it would introduce an LVT, beginning in 2013.[64] However following a change in government in 2011, a property value tax was introduced instead (see Local property tax (Ireland)).

Kenya[edit]

Land value taxation is currently at some stage of being introduced in Kenya.[65][66]

Namibia[edit]

Land value taxation is currently at some stage of being introduced in Namibia.[citation needed]

United Kingdom[edit]

The Labour Land Campaign campaigns within the Labour party and the broader Labour movement for "a more equitable distribution of the Land Values that are created by the whole community" through an annual tax on land values. Its membership includes members of the British Labour Party, Trade Unions and Cooperatives as well as individuals.[67] The Liberal Democrats' ALTER (Action for Land Taxation and Economic Reform) aims

to improve the understanding of and support for Land Value Taxation amongst members of the Liberal Democrats; to encourage all Liberal Democrats to promote and campaign for this policy as part of a more sustainable and just resource based economic system in which no one is enslaved by poverty; and to cooperate with other bodies, both inside and outside the Liberal Democrat Party, who share these objectives.[68]

The Green Party "favour moving to a system of Land Value Tax, where the level of taxation depends on the rental value of the land concerned." [69]

Courses in "Economics with Justice"[70] with a strong foundation in LVT are offered at the School of Economic Science, which has historical links with the Henry George Foundation.[71]

Scotland[edit]

Since the turn of the new century, with devolution and the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament, there has been interest and political pressure in Scotland to introduce land value taxation.

In February 1998 the pre-devolution UK government in Scotland (the Scottish Office) launched a far-reaching public consultation process on the broad question of land reform.[72] A survey of the record of the public response found that: "excluding the responses of the lairds and their agents, reckoned as likely prejudiced against the measure, 20% of all responses favoured the land tax" (12% in grand total, without the exclusions).[73] The government responded by announcing "a comprehensive economic evaluation of the possible impact of moving to a land value taxation basis".[74] However, in a welter of published Land Reform Action Plans, concrete, positive public outcomes failed to materialise.[75]

In 2000 the Parliament’s Local Government Committee[76] held an inquiry into local government finance. Its terms of reference explicitly included land value taxation[77] but the Committee’s final report did not comment on the system.[78]

In 2003 the Scottish Parliament passed a resolution: "That the Parliament notes recent studies by the Scottish Executive and is interested in building on them by considering and investigating the contribution that land value taxation could make to the cultural, economic, environmental and democratic renaissance of Scotland."[79]

In 2004 a letter of support was sent from a group of members of the Scottish Parliament to the organisers and delegates of the IU’s 24th international conference being held in Madrid—signed by members of the Scottish Green, Socialist and Nationalist parties.[80]

The policy was considered in 2006 by banker Sir Peter Burt’s government-appointed Scottish Local Government Finance Review. The Review’s 2007 Report[81] concludes that "although land value taxation meets a number of our criteria, we question whether the public would accept the upheaval involved in radical reform of this nature, unless they could clearly understand the nature of the change and the benefits involved.... We considered at length the many positive features of a land value tax which are consistent with our recommended local property tax [LPT], particularly its progressive nature." However, "[h]aving considered both rateable value and land value as the basis for taxation, we concur with Layfield [UK Committee of Inquiry, 1976)] who recommended that any local property tax should be based on capital values."[82]

In 2009, Glasgow City Council resolved that it wished to introduce a tax based on land values: "the idea could become the blueprint for Scotland’s future local taxation"[83] The Council has agreed[84] a "long term move to a local property tax / land value tax hybrid tax": its Local Taxation Working Group also states that simple [non-hybrid] land value taxation should itself "not be discounted as an option for local taxation reform: it potentially holds many benefits and addresses many existing concerns".[85]

Policy interest elsewhere[edit]

In Zimbabwe, government coalition partners the Movement for Democratic Change has land value taxation as its policy.[86] Since 2000, there have been political expressions of interest in the policy and analysis in Belgium,[87] Ethiopia,[66] Republic of South Africa[66] and other countries. The governments of Thailand[88] and Hungary[89] have shown some sympathy with the policy.

There are local campaigns to introduce it in many other countries, including South Korea and the United Kingdom (where a broad assembly of independent and politically aligned groups[90] advocate and advance the case for land value taxation).[91] The IU works internationally and at the United Nations in support of the policy. In 1990, several economists wrote[92] to then President Mikhail Gorbachev suggesting that Russia use Land Value Taxation in its transition towards a free market economy: its failure to do so has been argued as causal in the rise of the Oligarchs.[93]

Tax rates[edit]

EU countries[edit]

Country Average rate Lowest rate Highest rate Year Name Description
 Denmark 2.627%[94] 1.6%[94] 3.4%[94] 2013 grundskyldspromille / ejendomsskat The municipality (kommune) decides the local tax rate within 1.6 and 3.4 percent[95]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, Adam (1776). The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Chapter 2, Article I: Taxes upon the Rent of Houses. "Ground-rents are a still more proper subject of taxation than the rent of houses. A tax upon ground-rents would not raise the rents of houses. It would fall altogether upon the owner of the ground-rent, who acts always as a monopolist, and exacts the greatest rent which can be got for the use of his ground." 
  2. ^ George, Henry (1879). Progress and Poverty.  The often cited passage is titled "The unbound Savannah."
  3. ^ a b Suits, Daniel B. (September 1977). "Measurement of Tax Progressivity". American Economic Review 67 (4): 747–752. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Land Valuation in Denmark (1903-1945) by K.J. Kristensen
  5. ^ Coughlin (1999) p.263-4
  6. ^ Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations Book V, Chapter 2, Part 2, Article I: Taxes upon the Rent of Houses
  7. ^ McCluskey, William J.; Franzsen, Riël C. D. (2005). Land Value Taxation: An Applied Analysis. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 4. ISBN 0-7546-1490-5. 
  8. ^ Vickrey, William. "The Corporate Income Tax in the U.S. Tax System, 73 TAX NOTES 597, 603(1996)
  9. ^ Smith, Jeffery J. (2001). "Property Tax Shift Successes". The Progress Report. Retrieved 13 June 2008. 
  10. ^ Foldvary, Fred E. (2005). Geo-Rent: A Plea to Public Economists 2 (1). Econ Journal Watch. pp. 106–132. 
  11. ^ Mills, David E. "The Non-Neutrality of Land Value Taxation". National Tax Journal (National Tax Association) 34 (March 1981): 125, 127–128. 
  12. ^ Bentick, Brian L. (1979). "The Impact of Taxation and Valuation Practices on the Timing and Efficiency of Land Use". Journal of Political Economy (The University of Chicago Press) 87 (August 1979): 859–860. doi:10.1086/260797. JSTOR 1831012. 
  13. ^ DiMasi, Joseph A. "The Effects of Site Value Taxation in an Urban Area: A General Equilibrium Computational Approach". National Tax Journal (National Tax Association) 40 (December 1987): 577–588. 
  14. ^ Australia's Future Tax System (Report). http://taxreview.treasury.gov.au/content/FinalReport.aspx?doc=html/Publications/Papers/Final_Report_Part_2/chapter_c2.htm/. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  15. ^ Gihring, Thomas A. The Value Capture Approach To Stimulating Transit Oriented Development And Financing Transit Station Area Improvements. Victoria Transport Policy Institute. 
  16. ^ Speirs, Mark. Land Value Taxation: An Underutilized Complement to Smart Growth Policies. 
  17. ^ Wetzel, Dave (20 September 2004). "The case for taxing land". New Statesman. Retrieved 13 June 2008. [dead link]
  18. ^ Smith, Julie P. (June 2000). Land Value Taxation: A Critique Of 'Tax Reform, A Rational Solution' (PDF). Australian National University. ISSN 1442-8636. Retrieved 13 June 2008. 
  19. ^ "Land Value Tax FAQ, Feasta". Retrieved 13 February 2009. 
  20. ^ Hylton, 3 U.S. 171(1796)
  21. ^ Rothbard, Murray. "The Single Tax: Economic and Moral Implications and A Reply to Georgist Criticisms". The Mises Institute. Retrieved 13 February 2009. 
  22. ^ Downing, Paul B. (1970). Estimating Residential Land Value by Multivariate Analysis. Published for the Committee on Taxation, Resources and Economic Development by the University of Wisconsin Press. Retrieved 13 February 2009. 
  23. ^ Property Reference Number. The Land Registry. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  24. ^ Posner, Richard A. ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF LAW 458-59 (3rd ed. 1986)
  25. ^ Coughlin (1999) p.265-266.
  26. ^ Törhönen, Mika-Petteri (15 January 2003). Sustainable Land Tenure and Land Registration in Developing Countries, Including a Historical Comparison with an Industrialised Country (PDF). Final version. Elsevier Science Ltd. Retrieved 22 May 2008. 
  27. ^ Keith, Simon H. (October 1993). Property Tax in Anglophone Africa: A Practical Manual (PDF). Washington, DC: The World Bank. p. 10. ISSN 0253-7494. Retrieved 12 June 2008. 
  28. ^ Harry Gunnison Brown (1936). "A Defense of the Single-Tax Principle." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 183 (January): 63.
  29. ^ Paul VI. "Populorum Progressio, item 23". Retrieved 13 February 2009. 
  30. ^ "A Study in Land Value Taxation". Seek Estate. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  31. ^ Coughlin (1999), p.263
  32. ^ Rick Rybeck, Using Value Capture to Finance Infrastructure and Encourage Compact Development, PUBLIC WORKS MANAGEMENT & POLICY, Vol. 8 No. 4, April 2004, pp.249-260, doi:10.1177/1087724X03262828, © 2004 Sage Publications. http://pwm.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/8/4/249
  33. ^ http://earthsharing.ca/page/poverty
  34. ^ Seligman, Edwin R. (1937). Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences. Macmillan Publishing Company, Incorporated. p. 70. ISBN 0-02-609130-5. 
  35. ^ Rosamond Faith. Hide in Lapidge's. Anglo-Saxon England. pp. 238-239
  36. ^ p684, The Story of Civilisation, Volume 1, "Our Oriental Heritage", Will Durant, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1942 (Tenth Printing)
  37. ^ The Book of Mengzi, 1B.5
  38. ^ Fonseca, Gonçalo L. "The Physiocrats". The History of Economic Thought Website. Retrieved 18 March 2009. [dead link]
  39. ^ Fraenckel, Axel (1929). "The Physiocrats and Henry George". 4th International Conference of the International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade. The School of Cooperative Individualism. Retrieved 10 July 2008. [dead link]
  40. ^ Steiner, Phillippe (2003) Physiocracy and French Pre-Classical Political Economy in eds. Biddle, Jeff E, Davis, Jon B, & Samuels, Warren J. A Companion to the History of Economic Thought p.62. Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
  41. ^ Paine, Thomas. "Agrarian Justice". Constitution Society. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  42. ^ Spence, Thomas. "The Rights of Infants". The Thomas Spence Society. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  43. ^ See Kristensen, K.J. : Land Valuation in Denmark (1903-1945). First published 1945 by International Union for Land Value Taxation and Free Trade. Revision of Paper delivered at The International Conference, New York, 1939. URL: http://grundskyld.dk/2-assessment.html
  44. ^ "A revolutionary who won over Victorian liberals". New Statesman. 20 September 2004. Retrieved 13 February 2009. [dead link]
  45. ^ Churchill, Winston (1909). "Land Price as a Cause of Poverty". Archived from the original on 17 December 2001. Retrieved 13 February 2009. 
  46. ^ "Action for Land Taxation and Economic Reform". Liberal Democrat ALTER. 
  47. ^ "Policy Statement — Planning". The Liberal Party. Retrieved 13 February 2009. 
  48. ^ "Land" (PDF). Manifesto for a Sustainable Society. Green Party of England and Wales. March 2000. Retrieved 5 March 2009. [dead link]
  49. ^ Greens unveil land tax proposals. BBC News. 12 March 2004. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  50. ^ Wenzer, Kenneth C. (1999). Land-Value Taxation: The Equitable and Efficient Source of Public Finance. New York: M. E Sharpe Inc. p. 163. ISBN 0-7656-0448-5. 
  51. ^ London Rating (Site Values) — A Bill. Land Value Taxation Campaign. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  52. ^ Francis, Daniel (2004). L.D.: Mayor Louis Taylor and the rise of Vancouver. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press. pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-1-55152-156-5. 
  53. ^ Nixon, Garry B. (2000). "Canada - economic aspects of the country's land use". The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. 
  54. ^ Andelson (Editor), Robert V. (15 February 2001). Land-Value Taxation around the World (Studies in Economic Reform and Social Justice). Wiley Blackwell. p. 300. ISBN 978-0-631-22613-0. 
  55. ^ "NSW.gov.au". Lands.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  56. ^ Brisbane's Inquiry into Land Value Rating. Land Value Taxation Campaign. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  57. ^ "5506.0 - Taxation Revenue, Australia, 2007-08". 14 April 2009. Archived from the original on 30 August 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  58. ^ Description of land value tax in Fairhope
  59. ^ "Lands Department - Payment of Government Rent". Landsd.gov.hk. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  60. ^ "Rating and Valuation Department - Public Services". Rvd.gov.hk. Retrieved 16 May 2012. [dead link]
  61. ^ SAURUS - www.saurus.info (1 July 1993). "Land Tax law in Estonia". Fin.ee. Retrieved 16 May 2012. [dead link]
  62. ^ Perlo Cohen, Manuel (September 1999). "Mexicali: A Success Story of Property Tax Reform". Land Lines 11. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  63. ^ "China: private property, common resources". Land&Liberty (London: Henry George Foundation) 114 (1218). Summer 2008. ISSN 0023-7574. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  64. ^ The government adopted a four year plan, proposing that an "interim site value tax" would be introduced in 2012; this would not be a true LVT, because the same tax would be levied on all properties regardless of value. A true LVT was to commence in 2013 when land valuations have been conducted. See, "Government announces new 'site value tax' from 2012"
  65. ^ "Ardhi.go.ke". Ardhi.go.ke. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  66. ^ a b c "The pioneers of the New African Age". Land&Liberty (London: Henry George Foundation) 115 (1223). 18 January 2009. ISSN 0023-7574. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  67. ^ "Labour Land Campaign website". labourland.org. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  68. ^ "Libdemsalter.org.uk". Libdemsalter.org.uk. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  69. ^ http://greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/resources/Manifesto_web_file.pdf
  70. ^ "EconomicsWithJustice.co.uk". EconomicsWithJustice.co.uk. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  71. ^ "HenryGeorgeFoundation.org". HenryGeorgeFoundation.org. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  72. ^ Scottish Office, Land Reform Policy Group: Identifying the Problems, February 1998 Scotland.gov.uk
  73. ^ Land Reform Scotland, Responses to the Scottish Office Consultation Paper Identifying the Problems—A Survey and Simple Statistical Analysis, 10 September 1998
  74. ^ The Scottish Office, Land Reform Policy Group, Recommendations for Action, ISBN 0-7480-7251-9, January 1999 Scotland.gov.uk (Recommendation G8)
  75. ^ "Scotland.gov.uk". Scotland.gov.uk. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  76. ^ "Scottish.Parliament.uk". Scottish.Parliament.uk. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  77. ^ Monday 13 November 2000, Scottish.Parliament.uk[dead link]
  78. ^ Scottish Parliament, Local Government Committee, 6th Report 2002, Report on Inquiry into Local Government Finance Scottish.Parliament.uk
  79. ^ Minutes of Proceedings, Meeting of the Parliament, motion S1M-3818, 30 January 2003 Scottish.Parliament.uk
  80. ^ "Scotland is in the throes of releasing itself from the shackles of a historical inheritance of landed privilege.... On a global scale, the failure to share equitably the value of our common birthrights can grow awful grievances, which bring terrible consequences, such as was visited upon your host city [eleven weeks earlier].... [W]e must make practical changes to our social systems. We believe that the taxing of land values will be a key policy reform for the twenty-first century. Scotland must adopt it..." Letter dated (fax) 29 May, signed by members Mark Ballard, Robin Harper, Shiona Baird, Mark Ruskell, Chris Balance, Eleanor Scott, Patrick Harvie, Rosie Kane, Rosemary Byrne, and Rob Gibson
  81. ^ IPP.org.nz[dead link]
  82. ^ see 'SLGFR news: a fairer way’, ‘‘Land&Liberty’’, vol. 112, no. 1216, winter 2006-7
  83. ^ Maddox, David (26 June 2009). "Scotland's biggest city backs plan to replace council tax". The Scotsman. 
  84. ^ Glasgow.gov.uk[dead link], Print 3, 2009-10
  85. ^ "Glasgow goes for land tax". Land&Liberty (London: Henry George Foundation) 116 (1224). 26 July 2009. ISSN 0023-7574. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  86. ^ "Blessed be the land of Zimbabwe, etc". Land&Liberty (London: Henry George Foundation) 115 (1222). 29 August 2008. ISSN 0023-7574. 
  87. ^ "Belgian overhaul". Land&Liberty (London: Henry George Foundation) 116 (1224). 26 July 2009. ISSN 0023-7574. 
  88. ^ "Thai tax". Land&Liberty (London: Henry George Foundation) 115 (1222). 29 August 2008. ISSN 0023-7574. 
  89. ^ "Property tax goulash". Land&Liberty (London: Henry George Foundation) 114 (1219). 4 September 2007. ISSN 0023-7574. 
  90. ^ Many active organisations are partners in the Coalition for Economic Justice CoalitionForEconomicJustice.com
  91. ^ see, for instance, SquareEye.com
  92. ^ Wikisource:Open letter to Mikhail Gorbachev (1990)
  93. ^ "Standard Schaefer: An Interview with Michael Hudson on Putin's Russia". CounterPunch. Retrieved 13 February 2009. 
  94. ^ a b c "EJDSK2: Ejendomsskatter efter område og skattepromille". Danmarks Statistik. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  95. ^ "Bekendtgørelse af lov om kommunal ejendomsskat". LBK nr 1104 af 22/08/2013. 

Sources[edit]

  • Coughlan, J. Anthony. "Land Value Taxation and Constitutional Uniformity", Geo. Mason L. Rev., Winter 1999, Vol. 7, No. 2

External sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]