Real estate tax deadline extended, but is it legal?

Parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee approved Sunday the finance minister’s decision to extend the deadline for submitting real estate tax declarations from 31 December 2009 to 31 March 2010.

The committee also warned that the postponement was probably in violation of the constitution. The finance minister declined to comment on the constitutionality of his decision.

To sidestep possible constitutional violations, committee head Ahmed Ezz submitted a bill to parliament allowing the extension of the deadline, and commending the ministry for its reasonable tax exemption scale. Ezz’s bill said that the ministry’s real estate taxes will only be applied to top bracket real estate.

Tax Authority President Tareq Farrag confirmed that it is not within the minister’s authority to extend the deadline.

In a related development, the Kafr el-Sheikh Administrative Court is hearing a lawsuit requesting the abolition of the real estate tax law on the grounds that it contravenes the constitution and Islamic law.

Before the announcement of the deadline extension, people crowded at Tax Authority offices nationwide to obtain the limited numbers of available declaration forms. It was reported that the forms, which are provided for free, were in fact sold on the black market for LE10 a piece.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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