Issues of Design in Ethiopia’s Property Tax Reform: Lessons from Previous Legislative Regimes and Other Jurisdictions


  • Dires Tilahun
  • Gashaw Misganaw


Property Tax Reform, Tax Design, Historical Development, Foreign Experience, Ethiopia


While property tax is the oldest of all types of taxes worldwide, the impulse to reform and reintroduce it in its ‘modern forms’ is a recent undertaking. Ethiopia has started property tax reform in 2011 intending to modernize the urban property valuation and taxation system across the urban centers of the country. The recent draft legislations and debates in the media seem to end the reform process that has stalled or been thrown into reverse. This article identifies and examines issues of design in Ethiopia’s property tax reform based on lessons from previous legislative regimes and experiences of other jurisdictions. Primary data were collected through legal document analysis and semi-structured interviews while secondary data were collected through document review. The findings from the investigation showed that there are various property tax design options in the determination of tax bases, rates, valuation methods, rules of exemptions and administrative procedures. The article put an emphasis on the need to carefully draw lessons from own past and other jurisdictions to successfully end the ongoing property tax reform.