April 1, 1972

Tax Review: Property Tax: Who Pays?

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Executive Summary
Sweeping new proposals to change the property tax or substitute other taxes for it raise fundamental questions such as who really pays the burden of the tax, says Dr. Harriss. After reviewing estimates of property taxes by income level, Dr. Harriss discusses the effect on capital.

A tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities.

A property tax is primarily levied on immovable property like land and buildings, as well as on tangible personal property that is movable, like vehicles and equipment. Property taxes are the single largest source of state and local revenue in the U.S. and help fund schools, roads, police, and other services.