Tax map

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Tax Map - a document that enables taxpayers to identify the identification number of a property. They are used mainly for calculating and paying property tax. The maps are intended to enable the tax authorities to account for all properties within their jurisdiction and to identify them in such a way that the taxpayer cannot avoid taxation. However, tax maps are not a legally binding document and cannot be used as a basis for recognizing ownership of a particular plot of land.

History of nordic states and tax mapping

In the Nordic countries, tax mapping dates back to the 18th century on the island of Gotland. Also in the nineteenth century, it was possible to see the use of tax mapping as a tool for collecting public debt. Important in history, it is the tax evasion by the Nordic nobles on the basis of false statements about their land. It was then that Karl XI ordered an investigation and a precise determination of the area of the plots owned by the nobles. Such action resulted from unreliable and false testimony as to the surface of the land, thus significantly depleting the treasury of the kingdom. Moreover, this method was by no means modern, since most of the old feudal states used this method for more efficient collection precisely so that all taxes were paid according to the actual situation[1].

Modern use of tax mapping

In the past, they were stored in documentary form, so they were converted to digital versions as technology evolved. For example, on the New York City Government [website], any taxpayer who owns a property in the tax map area can check the following records:

  • current tax map;
  • library of tax maps;
  • history of tax map changes; and
  • historical alteration books.

The website presents five major districts of New York City such as Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan. Each of them has received an appropriate tax rate for all parcels, which allows taxpayers to check what kind of tax they will have to pay for a given year. Historical information is available in PDF format, however it is available for parcels that were mapped in certain area only after 2008. Although tax maps could be considered an ideal tool to dispel doubts as to the legal title to real estate, but the benefits of merging the legal with the tax register are significantly overestimated. The legal cadaster is characterized by much higher standards, which generate higher costs than the fiscal cost of the cadaster[2].

Methods of tax mapping

When creating tax maps, public land survey system (PLSS), shippers'; positions, sizes of plots and areas of plots are mainly used. Most of the calculations are carried out using specialized computer programs, which use satellite mapping to determine the most accurate dimensions of the property. Cloud technology in particular is helpful in such activities, as it makes it possible to store all relevant data and then compare it with previous years[3].

Critics of tax mapping

Critics of tax mapping point out that in a given system there are many times situations in which the real market value of a property does not correspond to its tax base. Moreover, they note that neighborhoods or houses are sometimes overestimated or underestimated. They therefore argue that real estate should not only be taxed on the basis of its market value but also on the basis of its additional equipment and common features. Such action is intended to ensure fair treatment of taxpayers and to prevent harmful activities of tax authorities, characterized mainly by political motivations[4].

Examples of Tax map

  • A tax map is typically created by a government agency or a private surveying company to assist the local government in the administration of taxes. In many cases, the map is created with the assistance of a Geographic Information System (GIS) to provide a more accurate representation of the area being mapped. Tax maps are used to show the boundaries of each property and its associated tax rate, as well as the location of any public or private property, roads, and other features.
  • In the United States, tax maps can be found in county tax assessor's offices and may be available online in some locales. The maps are typically updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in the tax rate or the boundaries of properties. Taxpayers can use these maps to determine the amount of tax they owe, as well as to identify the boundaries of their property.
  • In some cases, tax maps can also be used as a tool to identify potential sources of revenue for local governments, such as land that can be sold for development or leased for agricultural purposes. For example, in some parts of the United States, tax maps are used to identify parcels of land that are eligible for conservation easements, which are agreements between private landowners and the government to preserve the land for its natural beauty or for agricultural use.

Advantages of Tax map

Tax maps are an invaluable tool for taxpayers and tax authorities alike, providing both with an accurate and comprehensive view of a community's property tax landscape. Below are some of the primary advantages of tax maps:

  • Tax maps provide a visual representation of all the parcels of land within a given jurisdiction, making it easier for taxpayers to identify their property and calculate their taxes accurately.
  • Tax maps can be used to identify properties that are subject to taxation, ensuring that all taxable properties are included in the tax base.
  • Tax maps provide a visual reference for determining the boundaries of parcels of land, making it easier to identify any disputes over land ownership.
  • Tax maps enable tax authorities to track changes in the value of property over time and ensure that property taxes are adjusted accordingly.
  • Tax maps are an easy way for taxpayers to keep track of their own property and any changes in the value of their land.

Limitations of Tax map

Tax maps have certain limitations that need to be taken into consideration when using them. These include:

  • Lack of accuracy - Tax maps are often out of date, and the information they contain may be inaccurate or incomplete. This can lead to errors in tax calculations or difficulties in locating a property.
  • Inconsistent formatting - Tax maps have different formats and are not standardized in terms of their layout, making it difficult to compare data from different maps.
  • Limited information - Tax maps only provide basic information such as the name of the property and the property tax rate. This means that they cannot be used to determine the ownership of a property or the boundaries of a particular plot of land.
  • Cost - Tax maps can be expensive to obtain, depending on the jurisdiction.

Other approaches related to Tax map

In addition to Tax Maps, there are several other approaches used to identify and track properties for taxation purposes. These include:

  • Assessors Maps - these maps are used by assessors to determine the tax value of properties. They are typically based on aerial photography and may include various data points such as property boundaries, lot sizes, building footprints, and zoning information.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) - GIS is a type of computer mapping software that allows users to visualize, analyze, and manage spatial information. GIS can be used to create more accurate tax maps, as well as to generate reports on property taxes and other data related to taxation.
  • Property Tax Records - these are records maintained by local authorities that contain information about taxable properties. They may include details such as ownership, assessments, and payment history.
  • Tax Rolls - these are lists of properties that are subject to taxation. Tax rolls are typically compiled from the property tax records and can be used to track changes in taxation over time.

In summary, Tax Maps are just one of several approaches used to identify and track properties for taxation purposes. Assessors Maps, GIS, Property Tax Records, and Tax Rolls are other approaches that can help local authorities identify and manage taxable properties.


  1. W. Dilinger 1991, p.13
  2. R. Kain, E. Baigent 1992, p. 8-10
  3. R. Kremenec, C. Carlson 1994, p.1
  4. G. Thrall 1987, p. 112-113

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Author: Maria Bartkowska