Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Economics and Finance

Department name when degree awarded


Committee Chair(s)

W. Cris Lewis


W. Cris Lewis


H. Craig Peterson


Chris Fawson


In an environment of increasing government expenditures financed largely viii through taxes, including a relatively visible and large residential property tax, the issue of whether property taxes are capitalized into market values is increasingly important. Property tax capitalization is the reflection of property taxes in the value of real property. The capitalization of property tax does not necessarily pose a problem; rather, problems arise when homes identical to each other have different taxes and these differentials are then capitalized into market values. These capitalized tax differentials result in large capital gains and losses to owners of real estate.

This study (1) reviews existing economic theory and empirical evidence on the capitalization of property taxes, (2) develops a model of property valuation inclusive of tax effects, and (3) estimates the parameters of this model using a comprehensive data set of over 334 home sales in the Logan, Utah area. The empirical results include an estimate of the tax capitalization effect. Two closely related issues are also addressed in the study. They include: (I) changes in real estate prices, including a suggested method for measuring such change and (2) a study of property tax equity, including two specific measures of tax fairness.

The conclusions are (I) tax differentials are capitalized; (2) real estate prices in the study area increased approximately 10 percent per year from 1989 to 1992; and (3) there is significant variation in assessment ratios.



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