A residential property tax in China may seem like a contradiction in terms, but in fact a system for collecting a property tax is indeed what the rapidly growing nation, with its explosive housing market and changing rules on private ownership, is contemplating. The Lincoln Institute’s China Program has been there to help, leading a successful property tax demonstration project last year to develop a computer-assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) system that was both suited to China's needs and in line with international standards, that was employed to run a sample valuation for 18 commercial properties at Beijing's Financial Street. The results of this demonstration project were compiled into a formal report that was presented at the China Program's conference on land taxation reform last September, which was also attended by the representatives of the International Association of Assessing Officers.
As the public policy debate in China has now largely shifted to first implementing a residential property tax, the China Program, at the Lincoln Institute-Peking University Center for Urban Development and Land Policy, has continued efforts in research and capacity building in the areas of property tax assessment and CAMA/GIS technology. Earlier this year, a property tax fact-finding trip, building on last year's demonstration project, included meetings with policymakers, tax officials, and scholars in Shenzhen and Hangzhou, involved with property taxation. Shenzhen and Hangzhou are both among the China's "property tax pilot" cities, which means they have been working for some years on their own property tax pilot projects without actually formally administering a property tax. The fact-finding trip included a day-long roundtable with the Shenzhen institution responsible for property taxation, a meeting with the Hangzhou municipal tax authorities, and meetings with two Hangzhou property tax assessment and administration information technology companies recognized by China's State Administration of Taxation as preferred technology providers. The China Program and the Center for Urban Development and Land Policy have emerged as one of the leading sources for objective information about international experiences in the property tax, assessing techniques, and property taxation in China, said China program director Joyce Man, and will continue to be available to provide assistance and information.
A further indication of how the property tax is moving ahead in China: for the first time a Chinese delegation will travel to Phoenix in September for the annual meeting of the IAAO , where Joyce Man will also be delivering a keynote presentation on Chinese property tax reform. This account of the property tax in China and Man’s engagement on the subject appeared in Fair & Equitable, the IAAO’s monthly magazine.