Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Local government finance

Resourcing local government remains a central challenge to effective decentralisation. This section has content relating to different models of fiscal decentralisation, options for identifying new sources of local revenue, such as local property tax; and strategies for improving collection and deployment of own-source revenue. It also offers information about improving the borrowing potential of local government, innovative financing models such as municipal bonds, shared services, and public private partnerships.

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World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work

Pages 135-136 are on property tax. 'Another form of recurrent taxation that can be tapped for further resources in most developing countries is immovable property taxes. These taxes do not distort labor markets, human capital accumulation, or innovation decisions. Property taxes also provide a stable source of revenue that is less susceptible to short-term economic fluctuations and is difficult to evade. And although property taxes would likely not flow into federal social protection schemes (they are typically raised by local governments), they could fund regional or municipal social services or reduce the level of federal transfers to local governments. On average, high-income countries raise 1.1 percent of GDP from immovable property taxes. In middle income countries, these taxes yield about 0.4 percent of GDP.19 Yet property taxes represent untapped revenue potential for all countries. This revenue gap is estimated to be 0.9 percent of GDP in middle-income countries and as much as 2.9 percent in high-income countries.20 Governments in Sub-Saharan Africa are estimated to be missing out on revenues of 0.5 to 1 percent of GDP because of no property taxes whatsoever or their limited application.'
 

Author: World Bank Publisher: World Bank Publication year: 2018


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