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Equity and Fairness Within Ad Valorem Real Property Taxes

Frances Plimmer, William J. McCluskey, and Owen Connellan

June 2000, English

This working paper reports on inequitable and unfair aspects in the extant design and operation of domestic property taxation systems in the United Kingdom. It examines previous attempts in property tax applications to remedy such fiscal defects and reviews the future prospects of further amelioration. As a pilot venture, the results are evaluated based on an empirical investigation of two case studies: the first in Northern Ireland where a long-established rating system based on annual values is still operational; and the second in England and Wales where the more recent Council Tax is now in place, based on a banding system of capital values. Examples of inequities and unfairness are drawn from both studies, clearly pointing to the need for more frequent and regular revaluations and to recommendations for methodological and operational changes. These findings lead to the research team’s proposals for ongoing research, with an extension of its investigations into a far-reaching examination of the concepts and practice of “equity” and “fairness” within a wider geographical and cultural sphere and a more comprehensive context.


Property Taxation, Public Policy, Tax Reform, Valuation