Taxes is the main source of income for any city in the SimCity series. The amount of revenue made by taxes is affected by the population of the city and land values as well as the set tax rate. Lowering taxes will increase growth of a city and improve approval ratings, but will decrease the city's income. Raising taxes will increase cash going into the city treasury, but approval ratings will take a hit and growth will be slowed.


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In SimCity, there's a simple flat tax. Every residential, commercial, and industrial zone pays the tax.

SimCity 2000

The tax system is a bit more complex in SimCity 2000. The player can set a flat tax, but also has the option to set different taxes for different zones. Using the industry panel, the player can further adjust the tax rate for the different types of industries.

SimCity 3000

In SimCity 3000, the player is still able to adjust tax rates for the various zones. However, the option to tax different industries is gone. They were replaced by several city ordinances.

SimCity 4

SimCity 4's tax system gives the player even more control. Not only can players set different tax rates for different types of zones (residential, commercial, and industrial), they can also set the rate for different wealth levels (low, medium, and high wealth). Taxes can be manually adjusted, from a minimum taxation rate of 0.0% to a maximum of 20.0%, although the default tax rate is 9.0% for all categories.

SimCity (2013)

In SimCity (2013), the player must have at least a single town hall placed in the region in order to control taxes. Once the player has 5,000 citizens in a city and upgraded to a city hall (or one in the region) the player can control each type of zone's taxes. Once the player has added a financial module to a city hall in the region they can control all wealth levels and zones.

An interesting quirk - a majority of the game's mechanics appear to be tied to tax rate as a multiplier.  As a result, setting the tax rate to 0% would result in Sims never becoming unhappy or sick. This would allow one to create a city with the highest possible population by only zoning the entire city as residential and neglecting all services. See Megabumtopia One for a working example. This no longer works as of the latest patch, however.

SimCity BuildIt

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In SimCity BuildIt, taxes cannot be set individually by the player; instead taxes are set based on the city's happiness level with the minimum being 0% at lowest happiness and the highest tax rate being 20% at 90% or higher happiness.


  • An interesting note is that Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan suggested in his 2012 campaign is often compared to the taxation system used in SimCity 4, because it mirrored the game's default tax rates.

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