Independent General Union of Real Estate Tax Authority workers (IGURETA) will submit a memorandum to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi if the Ministry of Finance does not respond to employees’ demands for equality in incentives.
The demand, scheduled to come within a week, is asking for greater equality with their peers for general taxes and sales taxes, says head of the IGURETA Tarek Moustafa.
Moustafa added that sales taxes employees get 13 months of incentives and public taxes employees get 11 months while real estate taxes employees get only 6 months incentives.
“The union will hold a meeting with members of the directors’ board in governorates Saturday, January 17 at the IGURETA headquarters in Cairo”, said Moustafa. “The union will discuss the escalation of action in case the Ministry of Finance refuses their demands.”
Moustafa added that these actions will start by failure to attend work, due to complaints about heavy workload. This included work in real estate offices throughout the week, including Saturday from 8am until 6pm.
“If the ministry does not respond we will not distribute notifications on taxpayers, then the final stage is a strike,” revealed Moustafa. “Some of the real estate tax employees in some governorates have already halted the distribution of notifications”.
He added that IGURETA has attempted to ease finances for the ministry, saying that instead of sending mail notifications at a cost of EGP 8, employees can distribute notifications and be paid only EGP 1 per notification. In return, real estate tax employees asked the Ministry of Justice to join other taxes employees in the incentives and health care scheme. It is reported that the ministry ignored their demands, and instead consistently stalled its response.
He criticised the failure to implement the Minister of Finance’s decision to increase the real estate tax employees’ incentives to 100% from 1 July. It is alleged that the ministry said the current economic conditions were to blame for the lack of incentives.
Regarding Ministry of Finance promises that real estate tax employees would receive a percentage of the tax proceeds, Moustafa said it was a matter of equality with their peers rather than demanding more money.
Moustafa objected to the new law regarding the distribution of exempt and non-exempt taxpayers’ notifications, especially as there are approximately 8 million people exempt. This means that the real estate tax employees will distribute notifications housing units already exempt from the tax, placing a burden on employees.
“The real estate tax employees face problems in applying the new real estate tax law as the staff were not trained on the process of distributing notifications, and the training programmes provided by the Real Estate Tax Authority (RETA) were fake programmes just for media,” continued Moustafa.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance’s real estate tax advisor Tarek Farag said that there are no ministry meetings or decisions regarding the real estate tax officials’ demands. Their problems have also not been discussed, he said, instead they frequently threaten to go on strike with no follow up.