Land taxation in Tanzania: an examination of its legal, economic and social implications in development

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University of Dar es Salaam
Of the late however, there are no comprehensive statutes for some of the land taxes, for example capital gains tax, rent tax and land taxes. At the same time some other land tax heads have been abandoned, though still worth of being enacted upon levied and collected. These include site rates and house tax, so as to cover land owners (of lands) in areas not rateable though enjoying urban area facilities and services. Secondly, there is the problem of fees charged by the government being little. Thus though title holders of such lands may be getting large sums of money from their landed properties, they pay a token fee referred to as land rent to the government. The land rent charged does not match with the land values (of the lands) either resulting from the government’s investment costs thereon or even such lands’ investment costs thereon or even such lands’ development potential. Thirdly, is that there is no adequate machinery and competent staff to assess and make follow up of the payable fees. Some of the land taxes, such as capital gains tax, rent tax, land rent etc. have several offices administering them. But the offices are not well co-ordinated. For example the assessment, levying and collection of capital gains tax by the income tax department officials is not well carried out. The latter department’s officials are not experts in determining with precision whether a transfer has or not gained from the transfer and if it is yes, how much. This is an area for valuers. They are in a better position to do this task than the finance people. All in all, in the final end, the is an under utilisation of land resources, making land taxation in the country as of today not a reliable source of revenue to both local governments and the central government. Furthermore, land taxation as of now is not fully deployed as an approach towards checking accumulation of glaring wealth (and power) in the hands of a few people who have been granted right of occupancy over public lands. This dissertation is designated not specifically on a particular land tax. It is a study on key land taxes in the country. By the fact that the country is administered from the centre and there are no different land holding laws for the various districts or towns, it follows that land taxation is also uniform. To this end, Dar es Salaam city has been taken as representative of the urban areas, due to limitation of time and funds. There is also the advantage of greater possibility of availability of data than in the other towns. Methodology for research was first through literature review ranging from text books, journals, periodicals, case law reports, seminar papers, research papers, dissertations, statutes and archival materials. The second method was by way of questionnaires which were sent to various institutions and persons dealing with land administration. They included land officers, valuers, lawyers, income tax assessors etc. The third method has been through interviews by author (with land owners and administrators) site visits and observations by author who at one time was himself a District Land Development Officer and government valuer. Both tables and mathematical computations have been employed in depicting the magnitude of the variations in the changes (percentagewise) of say land tax revenue or a particular span of time. The research has been confined to urban lands only. This is due to the fact that there are various statutes and policies which restrict dealings in rural lands e.g. selling bare land or levying of rates on lands not in rateable areas; which areas cover all rural lands etc. The law stated herein is as it was on 31s October 1985, though general information and data is as it was on 15th March 1986.
Land value taxation, Real property tax
Simba, I. C. W. (1986) Land taxation in Tanzania: an examination of its legal, economic and social implications in development, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (