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Land Value Taxation Views, Concepts and Methods

A Primer

Jeff Wuensch, Frank Kelly, and Thomas Hamilton

January 2000, English

Land value taxation has evolved for more than a century into an approach that is being used to varying degrees in the modern economy. While land value taxation plays a critical role in each state’s property tax system throughout the United States, land is not relied upon exclusively as a means of generating state or local revenue. There is no strict adherence to Henry George’s original philosophy of a land tax as the exclusive revenue source for government. Rather, it can be postulated that a land tax, in the essence imagined by George, could be used to replace, modify and/or supplement the current property tax system. With a greater emphasis on land value taxation, issues of speculation, urban decay, urban-fringe leapfrogging, tax equity and fairness can be addressed. This paper examines land value taxation in its general form, the underlying concepts and principles of value, and describes the modern adaptations of land value taxation. Issues and methodologies surrounding the process of valuing land are explored with examples.


Henry George, Land Value Taxation