Variables with similar info to deprecated PROPTAX in ASEC

The 2020 ASEC no longer contains the PROPTAX variable: IPUMS CPS: descr: PROPTAX

Given the importance of property taxes for calculating federal tax liability, is there another variable that contains similar information?

I’m not aware of any variable with similar information. You might find this document helpful for comparisons of different tax calculators, though it doesn’t seem to have a lot of detail on property tax imputation. According to this paper on the CPS tax model:

Property taxes on owner-occupied housing were simulated using a statistical match to the 1995 American Housing Survey (AHS). Property taxes are used in determining imputed home equity in one of the alternative income definitions.

but I haven’t been able to locate more details on this. You may want to reach out to the Census Bureau directly.

I checked with the Census Bureau regarding this question. Here is the answer I received:

The new processing system used for the 2019 CPS ASEC (starting with a Bridge file in 2018 and full production in 2019) is no longer matching to the American Housing Survey (AHS) to pick up the variables needed to create PROP_TAX on the CPS ASEC file. Under the earlier processing system, imputation for presence of a mortgage and property value-related questions was done with a match to the AHS using a cell hot deck approach. This was done to impute data from the AHS for questions not asked in the CPS ASEC. However, this resulted in a data lag where data from an earlier year’s AHS was used (AHS conducted biennially in odd-numbered years). Because of a redesign of the AHS in 2015, we had been matching to the 2013 AHS. This resulted in the variables needed from AHS to create PROP_TAX being increasingly out-of-date. In order to remove the processing dependency on another survey and eliminate the lag that would be present in the imputed data, the CPS ASEC does not create PROP_TAX any longer.

They do not have a new model for property taxes using the CPS ASEC, but they shared some documentation for the old model. Page C-3 of this report lists the procedure for estimating property taxes using the AHS.