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I'm really struggling with my budget. I think the solution may be on the revenue side, as my expenditures are quite minimal.

The taxes collected obviously depend on the tax rate, but what else? Do they depend on population or jobs? Do they depend on land value?

What is the formula?

I'd be satisfied with the residential formulas, or even conversion ratios (1 rich sim = x poor sims)

I took an entire tiny map population of poor uneducated sims from low density, to medium density. Even though the population more than doubled (6k to 14k), my residential tax did not go up.

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Are you aware of the graphs and overlays included in Simcity 4? They'll let you see where pollution is heavy & crime is up. fix those and the land value goes up. Especially in areas where $$$ sims are living. Rich sims ($$$) are attracted to high land value areas and require $$$ industry/commerce jobs. So to increase your population of rich sims, work on maximising land value (education, crime and pollution seem to matter more than health and fire). – Beeblebrox Feb 4 '13 at 3:56
Being able to attract rich sims isn't a problem. Being able to compare the expenditure vs revenue for rich sims is a problem. The tax revenue formula is a small but important piece of solving that problem. – David B Feb 4 '13 at 4:00
Unless this was published by EA I don't see how any could make anything more then an educated guess. Since Simcity isn't new I am sure that educated guess has already been made. – Ramhound Feb 6 '13 at 16:30
@Ramhound Great, if you are aware of a guess, post it as an answer. If it's somewhat fact based, I'll upvote it. If it solves my problem (of reasonably understanding how to play the game), I'll accept it. I doubled my population and got no new taxes... so I'm over 20 hours of playing this game and lack fundamental knowledge about its rules... it's like trying to play chess without the awareness that you take turns. – David B Feb 6 '13 at 18:16
My current theory is that (just like expenditures), buildings pay taxes. Each building pays a certain amount of tax based on its type, and the population of the building may act as a slider. I'm stuck for a way to test this theory. – David B Feb 7 '13 at 16:03

Approximate Residential tax rates at 9% for low and mid density buildings per 2 squares (assuming 2x1 lots, that can grow to 4x3 lots)

       $    $$    $$$
low  4.0   6.5   3.75
mid  6.8  13.0  18.00

The steps taken in this experiment are:

  1. Prevent $$ and $$$ from appearing by setting the tax rate to 20.
  2. Create a $ residential area with 100% same density buildings with a known lot count, run cheetah until stable.
  3. Measure $ taxes.
  4. Let $$ in by lowering tax to 9%, run cheetah until stable.
  5. Measure $ and $$ taxes.
  6. Let $$$ in by lowering tax to 9%, run cheetah until stable.
  7. Measure $, $$ and $$$ taxes.

Raw data:

low density testing with 20x22 = 440 2x1 lots

1800 total
$ 1800 = $4 * 440 2x1 buildings

2162 total
$  1142 = $4 * 285 2x1 buildings
$$ 1020 = $6.5 * 155 2x1 buildings

2142 total
$   658 = $4 * 164 2x1 buildings
$$ 1034 = $6.5 * 156 2x1 buildings
$$$ 450 = $22.5 * 20 3x4 buildings = $3.75 * 120 2x1 lots

mid density testing with 8*22 = 176 2x1 lots (2x3 buildings also occurred)

1214 total
$ 1214 = $6.8 * 176 2x1 lots

1342 total
$ 1045 = $6.8 * 153 2x1 lots
$$ 297 = $13 * 23 2x1 lots

1431 total
$  1013 = $6.8 * 149 2x1 lots
$$  195 = $13 * 15 2x1 lots
$$$ 223 = $18 * 12 2x1 lots

Based on this information, I can see what happened to my tiny map scenario mentioned in the question. I went from low density to medium density, and (in order to manage traffic), I de-zoned 40% of my residential zones.

1000 2x1 lots * $4 = $4000
 600 2x1 lots * $6.8 = $4080

Which explains why my population doubled but my residential taxes did not increase.

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Apologies if I seem misinformed (don't play the game), but are steps 4 & 6 supposed to be the same? – Schism Feb 10 '13 at 6:29
$ = poor, $$ = middle class, $$$ = rich. I let rich sims into the city for the first time in step 6. – David B Feb 10 '13 at 6:51
I figured as much, but I was wondering more about setting the tax @ 9% for both steps... – Schism Feb 10 '13 at 22:34
Well, I wanted to estimate the number of lots that improved instead of counting them (it takes a while to count to 440). By only having one unknown type at a time, I was able to use algebra. – David B Feb 11 '13 at 1:59

Some more data of my own here:

I have 1956 poor sims living in 184 poor low density 2 square houses. I get 824 in taxes from poor residents. Tax rate for poor sims is 9%

tax/sim = 0.42126
tax/poor low density 2 square house = 4.478

David B's data said 4 tax per poor low density 2 square house where as mine said 4.478. I counted carefully.

I am playing on easy setting though so that may explain why I get more tax.

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