The ACT's tax chief has named 34 properties across Canberra that have fallen into tax arrears, and warns he will repossess the sites if the debts are not cleared.

Revenue Commissioner Kim Salisbury said last month he would begin publicly identifying the properties of tax dodgers to coax the landlords into paying overdue rates and land tax.

All of the properties - 22 houses, five units and seven sites used by businesses - are owned by investors. The tenants are not responsible for the debts.

Mr Salisbury had never previously invoked his power to "name and shame" properties in arrears; a power that had been used only twice since self-government.

He said he had exhausted his other debt-recovery options before naming the investors' sites. He hoped the decision would help the ACT recover almost $1 million in unpaid revenue.

In documents tabled in the Legislative Assembly that identified the properties, Mr Salisbury wrote: "The rates and/or land tax payable in relation to the following parcels of land have been in arrears for at least one year and I have given notice of the arrears by registered letter addressed to the owner of the parcel at the last known address."

He also said he would apply for an order to sell the sites if the debts remained unpaid in a year's time.

ACT shadow treasurer Brendan Smyth questioned the decision to identify the addresses and urged the government to use the power sparingly.

"People should always pay their taxes on time and assist the community through the paying of reasonable taxes but I'd like to be assured that the government has done everything within its power to recoup these taxes before going on a naming-and-shaming exercise on what look predominantly to be residential leases," he said.

Mr Smyth hoped Mr Salisbury would "use this power judiciously and study the effect over time".

The Revenue Commissioner said last month his office tried to help people manage their tax debts, especially those in financial hardship, and reminded them regularly when they fell further into arrears.

But he had decided the threat of a forced sale was necessary in some cases.

"The primary intention of this action is not to sell the properties but to recover the arrears where other debt-recovery actions have proven unsuccessful," Mr Salisbury said.

"In many cases, the threat to publish property details and enforce a sale promotes the settlement of the debt."

ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr said it was appropriate that, "in some circumstances, the commissioner needs to pursue this avenue in order to assist in recovering long-term debts".