Examination of the challenges of property rating administration in Nigeria.
The creation of more state in Nigeria in 1976 gave rise to new urban centres, the rapid growth of which increased the need to finance the provision of public utilities. One of the major sources of finance is real estate taxation. Property tax reform is one of the alternatives proposed as a means for raising increased revenue to meet the financial needs of cities in less developed countries. Property rating is employed in Nigeria at the local government levels to raise revenues for public purposes. Rates are levied not on the nation as a whole but on a particular locality that is deemed ripe for the imposition of rates and with the consent of parliament. This consent is not given on every occasion of rate collection. The power is general one, given by statute without restriction and for all times. The general lack of interest on the part of the property ratepayers and the reluctance of some assessment jurisdictions to disclose information, the property rate administration is often surrounded in mystery. This centres on the fact that the core of property tax (rate) administration is the value of each taxpayerâ€™s property, so that each taxpayer will bear fairly his proportional part of the overall tax levy. Property owners have a right to know the approximate, fraction of estimated market value that is being used for tax (rating) assessment purposes. If the local government have to exist and to viable as the third tier of government they must surely need some local revenue in order stand firmly property rating is the most obvious source of such revenue. Property rating not only helps in influencing development but is also the major source of local government revenue used in defraying the cost of services rendered by local government includes, inter-alia, parks, burial grounds, registration of marriage, death and birth. It is important to note that rate is a form of tax, hence the use of property rate and property tax is interchangeable, although there is a slight difference between rate and tax, beside that rate is a form of tax, while in rating the amount of revenue required by a rating authority is first decided and then distributed among the rate payers according to a pre-fixed standard in other kind of tax the exact amount to be generated at the time of imposition is unknown.
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