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Egypt: Government Decides to Postpone Implementation of Real Property Tax Law

(Nov. 9, 2012) On November 4, 2012, <?Egypt's Ministry of Finance decided to postpone the implementation of the real property tax law (Law 196-2008 of June 23, 2008) until January 2014. The Ministry has proposed amendments to the Law to be considered before the new enforcement date. The Ministry is currently waiting for the upcoming parliamentary elections and the establishment of a new parliament to consider the amendments. The amendments cover tax exemptions on primary family residences, factories, commercial buildings, and small businesses. (Egypt Postpones the Enforcement of Real Property Tax Law Until 2014 [in Arabic], AL BAYAN (Nov. 5, 2012).)

Although the Law was adopted in 2008, its implementation has been delayed because of the public’s rejection of it, making enforcement impossible. After the Ministry of Finance proposed more tax exemptions under the recent new amendments, the prospects for enforcing the Law have improved.(Director of The Tax Revenue Agency, Postponing the Enforcement of the New Real Property Tax Law Until Further Notice [in Arabic], AL MASRY AL YOUM (July 4, 2011).)

Law 196-2008 imposes taxes on all types of privately owned real property except the following: 1) religious buildings; 2) properties owned by charities; 3) hospitals; 4) schools; 5) buildings owned by political parties and professional associations; 6) privately owned properties where the annual lease does not exceed LE6,000 (about US$981); 7) properties owned by foreign governments; 8) properties owned by youth centers; and 8) private properties designated to be used as social halls.

The Law states that the property valuation process will be based on location, construction quality, and utilities. It also provides that property owners have 60 days to file an appeal against valuation decisions. Finally, the law imposes fines on individuals who fail to submit tax declarations. (Law196-2008 (June 23, 2008), 25 (Duplicate Volume (c)) AL-JARIDAH AL RASMIYAH [Official Gazette] (June 23, 2008).)

According to news reports, the Law has faced criticism from some economic analysts and homeowners. Economic experts asserted that the Law will make owning property more expensive. Homeowners claimed that this piece of legislation will create an additional financial burden. (Egypt Government Confirms New Property Tax Will Go Ahead but Gradually, PROPERTY WIRE (Jan. 22, 2010).)