Assessment of potential and use of the IPTU tax, based on the fuzzy set theory

Abstract This article proposes a comparative analysis among Brazilian municipalities in order to identify the determinants of the potential and of the ability to collect urban property tax (IPTU) in Brazil. The analysis applied the fuzzy set theory, a pioneer methodological choice in the field of public finances in Brazil, which has provided unprecedented results in terms of property taxation. The results confirmed what analysts and municipal leaders have pointed out for a long time: the majority of Brazilian municipalities do not use their full potential to collect the IPTU — a fact that tends to be more critical in smaller cities, which depend on funding from other spheres of Government. The article breaks new ground in assessing this potential based on a comparative analysis of cities with similar characteristics.