By Erald Lamja and Genc Radovicka –
Thanks to the support of USAID, the Municipality of Elbasan can now issue accurate and fair property tax bills, based on reliable data via a GIS-based territory register.
Building and property tax is one of the main own source revenues for the local government units in Albania. To date, municipalities have lacked local territorial registers with accurate information on location and other details on individual properties within their jurisdictions and proper instruments to identify taxable properties and related owners. Issues with receiving complete, current, accessible data from the national Immovable Property Registration Office (IPRO) has created problems at the local level.
To address this concern of partner LGUs, the USAID Planning and Local Governance Project has, in the past three years, assisted the partner municipalities of Korça, Fier, Lushnja, Berat, Elbasan, and Kamza, in developing computer-based platforms that execute a Geographic Information System (GIS) application – essential to creating robust territorial registries. The application includes information on location, size, value, and ownership of the property. It facilitates property tax collection and administration through creation of the tax-related elements of a working territory register. The web-based application’s primary functionality is to support parcel- and building- based query, selection, display, and mapping.
The platform facilitates the work of municipal staff in maintaining GIS-based territorial registries to record all property data, ensuring accurate and reliable property information that is vital for fair, accurate, and complete property tax identification.
Each of the assisted municipalities is currently conducting comprehensive field surveys of all the individual properties and buildings within its jurisdiction and uploading this property data into its registry. The Municipality of Elbasan recently finalized its territory register, with a GIS database containing accurate data for more than 35,800 buildings, 53,300 immovable properties and 49,500 taxpayers.
“The digital territory register focuses on immovable properties and allows us to identify the property owner, analyze the property value, manage an accurate inventory of real property, and maximize tax property revenues,” says Qemal Tusha, General Director of Tax and Finance Department in the Municipality of Elbasan.
Property taxes are more than just a source of revenue and growth. They also play a key role in building institutions, markets, and democracy by making a local government accountable to its taxpayers.
Photo by Erald Lamja