Property Taxes across G20 Countries: Can India Get it Right?

  • 2013
  • Prashant Prakash

This paper deals with some of the issues relating to India’s tax base, tax structure and their equity effects, by comparing it with other G20 countries. Focusing specifically on property taxes, the paper attempts to discuss these issues from a political economy lens as well. This paper makes a comparison of the tax base, in terms of the total tax to GDP ratio, across G20 countries, and analyses the progressivity of the tax structure across G20 countries by comparing the shares of direct taxes in total taxes. The paper argues that in order to expand the tax base in India in a progressive manner, new avenues within direct taxes should be explored. In this context, a comparison of property taxes across G20 countries, focusing specifically on wealth, inheritance and municipal property taxes, shows that these taxes have remained grossly under-utilised in India, both as a source of revenue and an instrument for progressivity in the tax system.

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