Federal Payments in Lieu of Taxes

Archive Report

Tax Immunity of Federal Holdings

The doctrine that the federal government may not be taxed by lesser jurisdictions without its consent has become a source of growing discomfiture to state and local governments which find themselves squeezed between rising costs and inadequate revenues. The federal government is the country's largest landowner; its holdings in towns and cities across the continent, on mountains and plains, in forests and parks amount to more than one acre in every five.

The total value of federal real estate and improvements has been estimated at as much as $56 billion. Yet the government holdings are almost entirely exempt from payment of local or state property taxes. If they were liable to such levies, local and state governments would benefit to the ...

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