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Additional info for A Primer on Property Tax: Administration and Policy
Finally, the implementation and use of municipal performance measures would be much more effective and efficient in controlling the spending behaviour of local governments than are tax limitations. Variable tax rates versus uniform rates The issue here is whether a local taxing jurisdiction should apply a single uniform property tax rate to all properties within its taxing jurisdiction or whether different (variable) tax rates should be used, that is tax rates that vary with the cost of servicing different properties by type or by location within a municipality or rates that may vary for other reasons.
Traditionally and historically in Canada, as in most other countries with a history of property taxation based on property values, the practice has been to apply a single tax rate to all residential properties and a higher tax rate to commercial and industrial properties. More recently in Canada, but not everywhere, this practice has changed. All municipalities in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario are now permitted to use variable property tax rates. Some other countries have also moved in this direction.
Since firms and businesses generally locate where they can maximize their profits, the provision of fiscal inducements such as lower property taxes can influence a firm’s location decision in the same way as the reduction in other production costs may play a role. The impact of property tax differentials depends on a number of factors including the size of the differential between competing municipalities and whether this differential is sufficient to offset differentials in other costs or market factors.