Local Government Property Tax Administration and Collaboration with Central Government: Case Studies of Kiambu, Laikipia and Machakos Counties, Kenya

Authors: Rose Wanjiru, Anne Wanyagathi Maina & Eldah Onsomu with Graeme Stewart-Wilson
Publisher: ICTD
Date: April 2019


Working Paper 95

Property taxes are a major source of revenue at sub-national levels in most countries, but their administration is complex, and in most cases the process involves both national and sub-national governments. In Kenya, county governments have legislative authority to levy property taxes and the responsibility to finance some of the cost of the services they provide. This study examines existing and potential areas of collaboration between national and county governments in property tax administration using case studies of Kiambu, Laikipia and Machakos Counties. The identified challenges that counties face in property tax administration include weak collection systems, infrastructure, administrative and technical capacity, and weak links between taxes and service delivery. The counties in this study also did not obtain complete land registers from the defunct local authorities, and some did not have complete and updated property valuation registers. Further, some of the existing valuation rolls are outdated and weakly automated. This scenario contributes to poor tax administration, revenue leakage and inefficiencies. These challenges present potential areas for collaboration between national and county governments in property tax administration, including through information and data sharing, capacity building, automation, mapping, zoning and updating of valuation rolls and land registers.

Read the 2-page summary of this working paper here.