The Tax Authority has notified 1.5 million owners of residential and non-residential housing units of real estate tax dues, according to Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian, who added that the new tax would be applied for the first time this year.
“I have instructed the heads of the Real Estate Tax Authority and its affiliate directorates to take all measures necessary to facilitate dealings with the public and resolve any problems that may occur by applying tax law and its amendments on newly-built real estate units,” the minister said.
The government is struggling to funds following three years of economic instability, and hopes to resolve the resulting budget deficit through implementing tax reforms, reviewing economic legislation, and creating an environment conducive to business.
Dimian added that in local tax offices, the appeals form is available for those who feel that they are taxed more than necessary. Individuals are able to submit tax grievances against the estimated rental value used to determine the value of the tax levied on each real estate unit.
Samia Hussein, chairman of the Real Estate Tax Authority, said that owners of real estate units who are not exempt from the real estate tax because their units are valued at over EGP 2m or own other units must wait for the tax claim for their units. If the notification is not received by the end of this year, she added, they must consult with their local tax office in order to determine the amount of taxes due.
Hussein explained that payment takes place at the headquarters of the local tax authority where the property is tied, as this is the closest tax office.
Responding to concerns that taxes will be applied for certain family housing units that are meant to be exempt from taxes, Hussein confirmed that real estate units used for family residence valued under EGP2m would be entirely exempt from the tax. Wrongful notification of taxes due in this case, she said, could be solved at the local tax office through the filing of an exemption form.
Hussein said that “the person required to pay the real estate tax is the owner of the unit and not the tenant. Additionally, owners that sell housing units must inform the tax office of any purchase or sale operations, the new owner, and the date of sale.”
She added: “The sale may entail a tax exemption for the unit if it becomes a private residence for a family buyer, or it may fall under the purview of the tax if it becomes an additional unit owned by the new owner.”
“Real estate unit owners who receive tax notifications for their property and feel that the sum is exaggerated have the right to apply for an appeal on the value of the tax assessment within 60 days from the date they receive the notice,” she said. “A ready-made form is available in local tax offices for this purpose and a EGP50 deposit must be paid, which will be returned to the applicant in the event that the appeal is accepted.”
Hussein added that requests for appeal would be examined by appeal committees comprised of three members. The committees would be headed by an expert that is not and never has been employed by the tax authority in order to ensure impartiality, she added.
One of the remaining two members will be a representative of the Real Estate Tax Authority and the other will either be an engineer consultant chosen by the Engineers Syndicate or a real estate valuation expert chosen by the Central Bank of Egypt or the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority.