Digital Tax Parcel Mapping - Brief Description


An efficient real property tax administration depends on data that is accurate, timely, and economical to maintain. Building and maintaining the property inventory and attribute database are the most labour-intensive and costly functions of the property tax administration. Tax mapping is a core element of any integrated real property administration and taxation management system. It establishes the link between the real properties in the field and the property assessment and tax records of the tax administration.

Tax Mapping is a classical method of field operations for identifying real property units or “tax parcels”. Tax maps provide the public with vital real property information. Therefore, property or parcel location maps have been maintained manually in countries with “ad valorum” real property taxation for quite some time. Tax Parcel Maps are fundamental to the appraisal (valuation) of real estate. They help to determine the location of property, indicate the size and shape of each parcel, determine actual land use and help to discover undeclared properties for taxation purposes. Although tax maps serve as a general reference to property locations, they are not a substitute for official cadastral survey documents and should not be used in legal land disputes. They allow the establishment of a real property record system that can be adapted to data computerization.

Digital Tax Parcel Mapping is the process of converting the paper map based part of the “fiscal cadastre” (cadastral base maps, property identification maps) into a digital form and maintaining and managing the tax maps of local government units with the help of a Geographic Information System (GIS).
Usually this is done parallel to the introduction of a computerized real property taxation management system. This process can be time consuming, costly and not easy to manage sustainable, if process flow and purpose of the system is not analysed properly from the start.

However, if based on a prudent local needs and requirement analysis, the rewards in terms of better property management and higher real property assessment efficiency, are numerous. Especially as a visual tool to produce for example “Shame maps” in concert with other tax collection efficiency measures increases in locally collected taxes can be achieved. This can widen the local tax base considerably and hence will increase the financial options and the independence of local governments to invest in improved social service delivery and better physical infrastructure. In return, visible efforts in this field will improve the “tax moral” of local residents.  
At the same time the digital tax maps require that the related database are regularly updated. The best way of ensuring this is to link the digital tax maps to the database used by an integrated tax administration system. This also holds true for the need to update maps when further spatial sub-divisions or consolidations are undertaken.