Annual land tax is one of the oldest and simplest of taxes, yet it has long been neglected in West African countries where land ownership is still viewed as a privilege. In this paper we are considering what is still seen as a taboo subject. Contrary to received wisdom, it is possible to introduce a basic annual land tax without a land register or a computerised system. This has been proved in many cases. While certain precautions obviously need to be taken to minimise the social impacts of land tax, it not only generates revenue for the locality but also discourages the unproductive retention of unused land, and in the long term helps secure the land rights of producers or residents by providing written proof of their occupancy.
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