Taxation and land rights go hand in hand

On 19 January, during the VNG International (VNGi) staff conference in The Hague, Kadaster International and VNGi gave a workshop on “land and taxation”. Bottom line: land rights and taxation go hand in hand and strengthen each other.

Fair property taxation

First, a land administration system enables collection of property tax in a fair way. The role of location-based information becomes evident. For valuation of land or real estate and collection of property tax, one needs to have information about its characteristics, the entities holding land rights and addresses. A proper and reliable land administration provides important information for fair property taxation, and can lead to higher income based on taxation. On the other hand, if such data is missing, property taxation provides an incentive to start collecting information on land rights, which leads to better tenure security. 

Communicate and be transparent

To enhance support for collecting tax, it is key to be transparent about how money is spent and how citizens benefit. Providing land titles is a clear and tangible benefit and supports trust between the government and its inhabitants. We presented examples of property taxation in various countries, such as Ethiopia, Mozambique and Benin.
Currently, KI and VNGi combine forces in Mozambique and Benin. They support local and central governments to improve land surveying, registration and collect property tax on the local level. As a result, we see a steep tax collection curve in these countries in a short time period. Data collection and storage of ownership is sped up by using new technology like GIS and satellite imagery, while also working at the legal registration of rights. 

Building trust

Building trust between project partners, government entities and citizens is key for success in the long run. These combined efforts are effective as long as there is clear communication on how the collected tax was spent, for example, for building a school or a road. And a clear path to legal ownership of citizen’s properties is needed to see the long-term benefit of paying taxes. Legal ownership increases access to loans, provides protection to local malpractices by, for example, project developers, and it supports an open land market. 

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Kadaster International and VNGi in international explore possibilities for further cooperation. Building further on the relation between land rights, tenure security, geodata infrastructures and property taxation. This contributes to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For example to SDG 11 to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. But also to SDG 1, providing access to land which contributes to ending poverty and gender inequality. 

More information

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations inspire us to make a difference. Read more about what goals we contribute to.