CAVEAT: This is my understanding of the situation. I am not a lawyer or tax adviser and it is for you, the individual, to check this out with your own advisers if you have any questions / issues on the subject.
Everyone who owns property, registered or not, is required to complete a form for tax purposes REGARDLESS of the fact that if it is under 500000LE in value and not let out, even if it's just a tin shack on a roof you probably won't have to pay tax. (BUT that is for the lawyers to argue not me).
The due date is 31st December 2009 and there are fines for late submission.
DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 31ST MARCH 2010: link in Arabic here
google translate version in sort of English here
There is much debate in various places as to the whys, wherefores and ifs of this subject. Some foreigners have made comments to me like 'why hasn't anyone told us' well they have! Apparently it's all over the Egyptian news but in Arabic so us foreigners tend not to see it. It is for you to decide whether you intend to comply with the law or not.
Here is a link to the form in English for you to complete (link updated April 2010):
Link to page in English where you can download English version of form
I did go through the Arabic version with an Arabic- speaking friend and am satisfied that this English version is the same thing.
It is not very complicated to fill in, but a couple of definitions might help!
Number of rooms: this is all 'enclosed' rooms - ie with their own door.
Number of bathrooms: if you have a room with just a toilet and sink in it (what Brits would call a cloakroom and some American apparently call a 'half bath'), this COUNTS as a bathroom.
If you are located out of Egypt right now, then there is an address given on the page linked to above to send your completed form REGISTERED AIRMAIL (and note you are also required to submit a copy of your passport and the purchase contract and - if you have rented it out - any rental contracts).
Otherwise, there are local offices in Egypt - I think there's an address list somewhere in Arabic, but alas I do not know where.
WHERE TO TAKE YOUR PROPERTY (REAL ESTATE) TAX FORM
Well I submitted my form today and it was one of the most pain free exercises ever!!!! 22 MINUTES TOTAL in the office.
I decided in the end to take it to the Mansour St office - I had no idea where to go in 6th October - even a friend of mine who lives in 11th District had no clue where 2nd Neighbourhood was let alone building 21A and noone was answering the phone.
It took me just over an hour to get from my flat to the Mansour St office - I walked up the steps of the office at 1030am. At 1052am I walked out with receipt in hand.
I showed the reception guy my form and he saw it was the English version. So he escorted me to a little room down a corridor on the left wherein were about 8 tables with people at them.
After figuring my flat was in 6th October, a very helpful young man went right through the form with me. By the way RECEPTION ROOMS COUNT AS A ROOM so I had to add 1 to my total.
After the form was checked and he saw the copy of my passport, electricity bill in my name and contract to buy the flat, he took me to another bigger office and asked which desk was dealing with 6th October. The woman at that desk then went through the form again with him. She completed the receipt and gave it to me.
I was then taken back down the corridor to have an official stamp stamped on the receipt.
Note: Noone spoke English - only a few words here and there. If this is a problem for you, go with an Arabic speaker.
Where is this office?
Real Estate Taxes Authority
15 Mansour St., Beside Saad Zagloul Metro Station
Landmark: Beside Saad Zagloul Metro Station
Bab El Louk, Cairo
Go to Saad Zagloul Metro Station (DownTown - just 1 stop from Sadat on the Helwan branch). Come out and turn right up the main street a little way (assuming you are on the opposite side of the road to the memorial. If not, turn left!!!)
The memorial is on the opposite side of the road. As you walk up the road, you pass (on the opposite side) the Makan centre (which by the way is a fabulous little music venue).
Pass some big gates on your right hand side, walk a little bit further until you see a large entrance with steps leading up from the street.
There is a little reception kiosk on the right hand side of the staircase. The receptionist will help you from there on in.