Efficient and Equitable Tax Systems


Using land and property values to fund public investment and vital government services

Tax systems are the engine for public action, providing resources needed to promote and improve civic well-being. An efficient tax system raises revenue while minimizing unintended consequences, and an equitable tax system imposes obligations on taxpayers in proportion to their resources.

Property Tax Is the Linchpin of Municipal Fiscal Health

Our work addresses three major land-related tax issues: 

  • Property taxation, a fair, stable, and efficient source of local revenue
  • Land value taxation, an economically efficient method of identifying the social contribution to property wealth
  • Valuation methods, the key to appraising the property tax base accurately and distributing tax obligations fairly

Introduction to the Property Tax

The Lincoln Institute has published a variety of resources designed to promote understanding of basic property tax functions and their importance as a revenue source for local government. Explainer videos explore the mechanics of how the property tax works and use real life examples to demonstrate the significance of the property tax in government finance. Other publications discuss considerations for policy makers and clarify certain important aspects of property taxation.

Explore Resources

Compare the finances of 150 large U.S. cities across more than 120 categories of revenues, expenditures, debt, and assets.
Discover data on the property tax in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Learn why the property tax is a critical source of revenue for public schools in the United States.
Use this visualization tool to compare property tax systems and key variables across the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

A Good Tax

Tax expert Joan Youngman skillfully considers how to improve the operation of the property tax and supply the information missing in public debate. The author analyzes the legal, administrative, and political challenges to the property tax in the United States and offers recommendations for its improvement. The book is accessibly written for policy analysts and public officials who are dealing with specific property tax issues and for those concerned with property tax issues in general.

Property Tax Policy in North America

As part of an International Association of Assessing Officers task force, the Lincoln Institute has contributed to the content and focus of the organization’s new Standard on Property Tax Policy. Drawing upon many Lincoln Institute resources in its recommendations, these guidelines provide best practices that will improve and advance property tax systems.

Value-Based Taxation in Eastern Europe

The Lincoln Institute is building on its ongoing initiatives to strengthen the property tax in Southern and Eastern Europe through its educational work in Latvia, where a highly regarded and technically sophisticated mass appraisal system faces political challenges that are common to many regions around the world.

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