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New Book Property Tax in Asia Provides the First Comprehensive Analysis of the Property Tax Across the World’s Largest Continent


The property tax has great potential as a source of local government revenue in Asia, but its implementation has been uneven. The Lincoln Institute’s new book Property Tax in Asia: Policy and Practice ( ) (Paperback $60.00, 552 pages: ISBN: 978-1-55844-423-2) provides the first comprehensive analysis of how this essential fiscal instrument has performed throughout the world’s largest continent.

Written by a team of leading experts and edited by William McCluskey, Roy Bahl, and Riël Franzsen, the book provides a comparative analysis and detailed recommendations, with 13 in-depth case studies covering a region that is home to nearly half the world’s population.

“Our case studies of these 13 countries and regions found that methods to modernize the property tax vary widely among them, including how they capture its advantage as a revenue-raising measure and make it an instrument for rationalizing land use policy and promoting social equity,” the editors write.

A resource for scholars and policy makers alike, the book provides the most thorough review to date of the laws, administrative practices, reform proposals, technologies, and political debates that shape the property tax across countries of all sizes and income levels.

The book finds that, in general, wealthier countries such as Japan, Korea, and Singapore have well-functioning property tax systems, although they face challenges — for example, unclear ownership of Japan’s growing number of abandoned homes. In China and Vietnam, which do not allow private ownership of land, local governments rely heavily on one-time land-use fees, which are less reliable and stable than recurrent taxes. In addition, many lower-income countries suffer from narrow tax bases, undervaluation of property, poor compliance, and political challenges.

To represent roughly 50 countries, the editors selected 13 cases in based on the use of the property tax, innovative administration, use of technology, and history with the property tax. The case studies include all the largest economies in South and East Asia, all jurisdictions with recurrent property taxes of at least 1 percent of GDP, and a range of lower-income countries throughout Asia. The cases include China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Acknowledging that conditions vary widely, the book recommends the following 10 directions for reform:

— Develop a property and land tax strategy
— Take a comprehensive approach to reform
— Clarify the different roles of national, provincial, and local government
— Eliminate unnecessary tax exemptions
— Simplify the tax rate structure
— Rationalize the use of property transfer taxes
— Improve the quality of valuations and compliance with statutory
revaluation cycles
— Improve voluntary compliance with the property tax
— Simplify and improve public management
— Harness the power of information technology

Property Tax in Asia: Policy and Practice ( ) is the latest in a series of Lincoln Institute books analyzing the property tax in large regions of the globe, including Property Tax in Africa: Status, Challenges, and Prospects ( ) (2017) and Property Tax Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean ( ) (published in Spanish, 2016). For more information, visit the Lincoln Institute’s website:

Praise for Property Tax in Asia

“Property Tax in Asia provides much-needed insight into one of the most misunderstood forms of taxation across the world. Politicians and key stakeholders must understand all aspects of the tax for implementation based on sound policy principles to provide sufficient revenues for essential local services. Using the unparalleled experience of its eminent authors and editors, this book outlines successful property tax systems in various Asian countries and identifies where further improvements can be made through recommended reforms.”
— Paul Sanderson, President, International Property Tax Institute

“This is an authoritative sourcebook and a must-read for all those interested in revenue generation, especially during this time of fiscal constraints. McCluskey, Bahl, and Franzsen draw on rich case studies to expertly examine current policies and practices related to the property tax in Asia. Through detailed examination of every aspect of property taxes, the book provides invaluable lessons for academics, policy makers, and practitioners.”
— Deborah Wetzel, Former Senior Director for Governance, the World Bank; Senior Fellow, Governance, Institute for State Effectiveness

“This book will help shape the future of property tax reform, design, and implementation. Policy makers, scholars, and students will find this comprehensive volume invaluable. The analytical framework, cross-country comparisons, and detailed case studies provide insights and lessons on how to successfully design and strategically implement property tax reforms.”
— Roy Kelly, Professor of the Practice, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

“Property Tax in Asia, edited by three highly distinguished property tax scholars, takes a deep dive into property tax design and implementation in a continent where most countries need to provide autonomous revenue sources to promote efficiency and accountability in public spending. This innovative book will be a fundamental resource to scholars, practitioners, and policy makers in Asia and the world.”
— Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, Regents Professor of Economics Emeritus, Georgia State University

“This is an essential handbook for professionals and students on the policies and practices of property tax in Asia. The 13 case studies by scholars and practitioners stationed in their target countries provide expert insight into the context, evolution, institutions, and analyses of the tax systems in Asia.”
— Yilin Hou, Professor, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

“This book is an excellent reference for lawmakers, administrators, and practitioners to conceive and implement an efficient system of property valuation and taxation in Vietnam specifically. It is a valuable pedagogic document for developing professional training and academic teaching.”
— Loan H. Trinh, Lecturer, Hanoi National Economics University and University of Quebec in Montreal

About the Authors

William McCluskey is an Extraordinary Professor at the African Tax Institute at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Roy Bahl is Emeritus Regents Professor of Economics and founding dean of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. He also is an Extraordinary Professor of economics at the African Tax Institute at the University of Pretoria.

Riël Franzsen is a professor and director of the African Tax Institute at the University of Pretoria, where he holds the South African Research Chair in Tax Policy and Governance.

About the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy seeks to improve quality of life through the effective use, taxation, and stewardship of land. A nonprofit private operating foundation whose origins date to 1946, the Lincoln Institute researches and recommends creative approaches to land as a solution to economic, social, and environmental challenges. Through education, training, publications, and events, we integrate theory and practice to inform public policy decisions worldwide.

SOURCE Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

CONTACT: Will Jason,, +1 (415) 475-9554