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Time4Tea's answer explains why property taxes are justified in a modern society with multiple potential alternative forms of taxation, as they pay for various government services that property owners presumably use. However there's an additional justification for property taxes that applies especially in the case of unproductive property, even for unused property that isn't actually using significant government services. Property encourages thattaxes encourage property be put to productive use. It's harder to justify property you own go to waste if you have to pay taxes on it.

Back when I was high school student I used to walk to school through a field of corn. That may not sound remarkable, but I lived in suburban neighbourhood and went to suburban high school. There weren't any farms anywhere near me, yet across the street from my school, surrounded by houses and a shopping plaza there was a corn field. Some developer had bought it in order to put up townhouses, but for whatever reason waited a number of years to do so. For a few years the property sat unused, overgrown with weeds, serving no useful purpose. Eventually though, because the city actually charged higher taxes on undeveloped land than land being used for farming, the developer started renting it out to a farmer.

A more general example would be that property taxes encourage people who flip homes to rent them out while they wait for the price to appreciate. While many of these house flippers would anyways, that extra bill in the mail encourages those that rather not be landlords to do so as well. Without property taxes there'd be less housing available and more vacant properties sitting unused. In the extreme case of where an owner abandons their property, it allows the local government to seize the property for unpaid taxes. The government can then sell the property to someone who will hopefully put it to productive use.

Time4Tea's answer explains why property taxes are justified in a modern society with multiple potential alternative forms of taxation, as they pay for various government services that property owners presumably use. However there's an additional justification for property taxes that applies especially in the case of unproductive property, even for unused property that isn't actually using significant government services. Property encourages that property be put to productive use. It's harder to justify property you own go to waste if you have to pay taxes on it.

Back when I was high school student I used to walk to school through a field of corn. That may not sound remarkable, but I lived in suburban neighbourhood and went to suburban high school. There weren't any farms anywhere near me, yet across the street from my school, surrounded by houses and a shopping plaza there was a corn field. Some developer had bought it in order to put up townhouses, but for whatever reason waited a number of years to do so. For a few years the property sat unused, overgrown with weeds, serving no useful purpose. Eventually though, because the city actually charged higher taxes on undeveloped land than land being used for farming, the developer started renting it out to a farmer.

A more general example would be that property taxes encourage people who flip homes to rent them out while they wait for the price to appreciate. While many of these house flippers would anyways, that extra bill in the mail encourages those that rather not be landlords to do so as well. Without property taxes there'd be less housing available and more vacant properties sitting unused. In the extreme case of where an owner abandons their property, it allows the local government to seize the property for unpaid taxes. The government can then sell the property to someone who will hopefully put it to productive use.

Time4Tea's answer explains why property taxes are justified in a modern society with multiple potential alternative forms of taxation, as they pay for various government services that property owners presumably use. However there's an additional justification for property taxes that applies especially in the case of unproductive property, even for unused property that isn't actually using significant government services. Property taxes encourage property be put to productive use. It's harder to justify property you own go to waste if you have to pay taxes on it.

Back when I was high school student I used to walk to school through a field of corn. That may not sound remarkable, but I lived in suburban neighbourhood and went to suburban high school. There weren't any farms anywhere near me, yet across the street from my school, surrounded by houses and a shopping plaza there was a corn field. Some developer had bought it in order to put up townhouses, but for whatever reason waited a number of years to do so. For a few years the property sat unused, overgrown with weeds, serving no useful purpose. Eventually though, because the city actually charged higher taxes on undeveloped land than land being used for farming, the developer started renting it out to a farmer.

A more general example would be that property taxes encourage people who flip homes to rent them out while they wait for the price to appreciate. While many of these house flippers would anyways, that extra bill in the mail encourages those that rather not be landlords to do so as well. Without property taxes there'd be less housing available and more vacant properties sitting unused. In the extreme case of where an owner abandons their property, it allows the local government to seize the property for unpaid taxes. The government can then sell the property to someone who will hopefully put it to productive use.

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Time4Tea's answer explains why property taxes are justified in a modern society with multiple potential alternative forms of taxation, as they pay for various government services that property owners presumably use. However there's an additional justification for property taxes that applies especially in the case of unproductive property, even for unused property that isn't actually using significant government services. Property encourages that property be put to productive use. It's harder to justify property you own go to waste if you have to pay taxes on it.

Back when I was high school student I used to walk to school through a field of corn. That may not sound remarkable, but I lived in suburban neighbourhood and went to suburban high school. There weren't any farms anywhere near me, yet across the street from my school, surrounded by houses and a shopping plaza there was a corn field. Some developer had bought it in order to put up townhouses, but for whatever reason waited a number of years to do so. For a few years the property sat unused, overgrown with weeds, serving no useful purpose. Eventually though, because the city actually charged higher taxes on undeveloped land than land being used for farming, the developer started renting it out to a farmer.

A more general example would be that property taxes encourage people who flip homes to rent them out while they wait for the price to appreciate. While many of these house flippers would anyways, that extra bill in the mail encourages those that rather not be landlords to do so as well. Without property taxes there'd be less housing available and more vacant properties sitting unused. In the extreme case of where an owner abandons their property, it allows the local government to seize the property for unpaid taxes. The government can then sell the property to someone who will hopefully put it to productive use.