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News & opinion

21 SEP 2018

The future of property tax is global

Despite current nationalist trends in politics, the future of business is clearly international.

Corporations are becoming increasingly global in scale and with this globalization, come complex issues and lack of transparency. Even something as seemingly straightforward as property tax takes on a global lens when international companies have a physical presence in multiple countries and regions.

This trend toward globalization emphasises the need for international standards on property measurement, land ownership and business valuations. Identifying global similarities and building a benchmarking framework to standardize financial reporting reduces red tape and brings transparency. This facilitates international business development.

Property taxes will always be local but the future of property tax must take into consideration the international nature of business in this century and the need for companies to build consistency in their financial reporting. At RICS, we have local expertise and a global lens. Our network in the Americas includes experts who have worked on the ground in many different countries.


Valuations are the foundation on which property tax is built for the good of our communities from funding green space to sidewalk maintenance and road repair. Ensuring that valuations are equitable is the first step in determining whether property tax is fair. RICS’ Red Book sets out best practices for valuation professionals to follow to ensure equity in taxation. Today, it isn’t enough to ensure property tax is equitable in Minneapolis. We need to make sure best practices are followed and valuations are consistent and transparent when completed in Toronto, London, Paris and Tokyo.

RICS has been an enthusiastic supporter of international standards and the convergence of, at times, disparate applications of local standards. We’re a coalition partner participating in the International Valuation Standards Council, the International Property Measurement Standards Coalition, the International Ethical Standards Coalition and the International Construction Measurement Standards Coalition. In all cases, the industry is committed to increasing transparency, strengthening public confidence and ensuring consistent delivery.

Next week, I’m speaking at the IAAO Conference and Exhibition in Minneapolis where I will speak about property tax and the coming automation thereof with peers and colleagues. In early October, I’ll be in Seattle at the Appraisal Institute’s Fall Real Estate Conference.

RICS works closely with these two organizations that have a strong local arm to provide this international lens for this increasingly globalized world. I look forward to meeting with friends and colleagues at these events. I hope to see you there.

Peter Smith FRICS

International Standards

  • Construction standards
    We're working to develop and embed a single international construction measurement standard.
  • Ethical standards
    We're active in the International Ethics Standards Coalition which is creating a universal set of ethics principles.
  • Measurement standards
    We're working to develop and embed a single international property measurement standard.