Property Taxation in the People’s Republic of China


The property taxation system in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is still developing and does not include important features that would make it efficient. For instance, residential property is excluded from the tax base. This has contributed to real estate speculation, income disparity, and revenue losses.

A well-functioning local property tax system in the PRC would provide an efficient, equitable and sustainable way to finance local development and government spending. By helping to align expenditure responsibilities with revenue allocations at the local level, property taxation could reduce inequality in the provision of public goods and foster local government ability to provide them. Further, it will reduce the incentive for speculative behavior mitigating housing bubbles.

To further develop property taxation in the PRC it is recommended to gradually strengthen and expand the existing pilots, supported by clear principles on the delegation of taxation responsibilities, the definition of a nationally standardized tax base, an affordable tax rate, and enhanced local government capacity.

This policy note aims at drawing policy recommendations for future developments in property taxation in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) by reviewing best international practices and specific challenges in the PRC.

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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