Yilin visited Japan from November
17th to 27th for a first-hand study of the design and
administration of the real property tax. The Japanese property tax started in
the 1950s, heavily (even tremendously) influenced by the American system. The
original plan was an “advisory document” formulated by a group of American
economists at the invitation of MacArthur, commander of the occupying forces.
Then the Japanese adapted the proposed system to the country’s culture and
tradition. In this sense, the Japanese property tax can be a useful reference
in reforming the US local property taxes and in designing the tax for other
Yilin met with professors at
the College of Economics from Ritsumeikan University, Kansai University, and
Fukuoka University. Among them are experts on Japanese taxation, real estate
bubbles, and taxation theory, as well as a pracademic who was a high-ranking
official in the National Tax Administration and then returned to academia.
Through contacts of these
professors, Yilin visited municipal tax bureaus/departments of the City of
Osaka and the Town of Shingu and had long meetings and discussions with local
tax officials to obtain insight into value assessment of housing and land and
other aspects of tax administration. Beyond the local level, Yilin also met
with an office director of the National Tax Administration to get a glimpse at
At Fukuoka University, Yilin
gave a talk on “Optimal Design of Local Property Taxation” with cases from the
US and China. The talk, followed with discussion, was well received. The visit
to the City of Hiroshima inspired Yilin for a paper on sudden changes in land
value after a dramatic disaster, followed by full scale urban planning and
policy incentives for redevelopment to mobilize market forces.
This trip is part of Yilin’s ongoing project on
property tax design and administration reform.