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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘taxes’

Israel Freezes $127 Million in Taxes for PA in Retaliation for ICC Ploy

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Israel has frozen half a billion shekels – $127 million –  in tax revenues for the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for Mahmoud Abbas’ seeking membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he plans to sue Israel for war crimes.

The United Nations confirmed it has received the documents for joining, but it will take at least 60 days before membership can be approved. In the meantime, Ramallah, already cash-strapped because it pours its welfare payments from the European Union into private pockets, is going to have scramble elsewhere for the money.

The Israeli government decided on Thursday to freeze the funds collected in December but kept silent until the Palestinian Authority actually went through with its threat to try to join the ICC.

Israel previously has frozen transfers of tax revenues it collects for the Palestinian Authority, the last time being last April when Abbas threatened to join the ICC

The U.S. was unhappy with the Israeli move, and U.S. State Dept. Jen Psaki said that the move was “unfortunate” and that “the regular transfer of the Palestinian Authority’s tax revenues and economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been beneficial and is important to the well-being of the Palestinian economy.”

This time around, she may button her lip since Abbas has diplomatically spit in the face of her boss by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry by bursting his illusion of the “peace process.”

Kerry has naively bought the hocus-pocus that the Palestinian Authority is interested in a peace treaty with Israel except on Abbas’ terms, or more accurately, the terms of the Arab world.

After the Security Council rejected the resolution, which the United States voted against, the Palestinian Authority moved in rapid-fire pace on the diplomatic front since its failed attempt to have the United Nations Security Council pass a resolution that would require Israel to agree to hand over the fort – half of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – and then actually do so within three years.

Within two days of the Council’s negative decision, Abbas rushed to the United Nations with documents to join the ICC and more than a dozen other international treaties.

It was a step that Abbas has been planning for a long time during the ‘peace talks” charades ballyhooed by Kerry.

It is unlikely that Israel will surrender this time around and turnover the tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, which can start begging from the nearly bankrupt European Union or from oil-rich Arab states. Qatar used to give money to Hamas in Gaza but not Ramallah.

Gulf States businessmen have invested in private projects in the Palestinian Authority but not in the government.

There is no way Congress will allow more aid to the Palestinian Authority, and it may even place sanctions on it.

Russia’s economy is in a tailspin.

Who’s left?

Assistance from Tehran would expose even more the farce of the entity known, for the time being, as the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas Robs Bank of Palestine

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Ten armed Hamas security men robbed a “Bank of Palestine” branch in the Rimael neighborhood of Gaza City on Wednesday, according to Khaled Abu Toameh.

Fatah (Palestinian Authority) sources said the Hamas terrorists made off with $750,000.

They specifically confiscated money belonging to the Jawwal Cellular Communications Company, claiming the company owed taxes to Hamas.

Jawwal was the first Cellular firm set up in the Palestinian Authority, in 1999.

Lapid Won’t Let Defense Demands Turn Into ‘Turkish Bazaar’

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Finance Minister Yair Lapid vows to quit the government rather than raise taxes, an issue being debated as the government considers the budget for 2015, and says he won’t let the defense budget become a “Turkish bazaar.”

Lapid, who chairs the Yesh Atid party, is not willing to quit the coalition without a fight over the issue, however – and certainly not willing to crash the government over it.

“Elections are not a good thing for the state of Israel,” Lapid said in an interview with the Hebrew-language Ynet site. “I’m not afraid of elections, but they’re not necessary.. “

Nevertheless, he said, “I will quit the government rather than raise taxes. I ran with this for office and I said I won’t let it get to a situation in which every time there’s a problem, the government milks the public for all it has.”

At the end of the day, however, it doesn’t seem as though there will be a real problem in getting a budget passed. The kind of wrangling going on over the issue is the same kind of debate that is seen every time a budget comes up for discussion, Lapid said.

“It does not seem to me to be very different to the kind of conduct we’ve seen before every budget passing. I’ve been through a hard budget already with all of the pressures it involved. There are always pressures being put on the finance minister.”

Pressure is one thing, Lapid said, and he understands the defense ministry needs more money to be able to deal with the expenses of this summer’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge. There must also be a budget to pay for defense against other enemies, and to deal with the issue of possible return shelling and rocket attacks, and terrorists rebuilding tunnels in Gaza.

Yes, he acknowledged, “We need money for that. But I won’t let it turn into a Turkish bazaar. I want to give you all the money we have, but I can’t give you money we don’t.”

Rockets and Fighting Generate Financial Loss

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Israel’s Tax Authority announced yesterday (Jul. 8) that over 100 claims have been made so far as a result of damage caused by the rockets in the south, totaling at 10,000,000 NIS.

The Tax Authority has sent out their appraisers to provide initial assistance to citizens whose property has been damaged by the fighting.

At least 35 cars were destroyed, 52 structures were damaged and 12 claims were made regarding damage caused to agriculture. Further damage was caused to municipal property and infrastructure.

Two families whose homes were severely hit were evacuated to hotels.

Report: Bank Leumi to Pay NIS 1 Billion in Fines to US for Suspected Money Laundering

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

According to a report that appeared in the Israeli Channel 2 news site Mako, Bank Leumi will be required to pay NIS 1 billion in fines to the US for suspected money laundering at its American branches.

The claim is that the US branches may have made transactions on American client’s accounts in the US branches, but not all taxes were paid as required by law.

The bank’s directors held a special meeting yesterday to agree to a compromise agreement with the US government, and pay the fine.

Banks not just in Israel but around the world are also under investigation by the US government for suspected money laundering, in violation of new US laws.

Credit Suisse was recently fined $2.5 Billion USD.

The Mako report states that Mizrachi-Tefachot and Poalim may also have to pay fines.

Killing Cash

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

The Israeli government hopes to put the kabash on cash transactions, starting with a plan that places a ceiling on the amounts starting in fiscal 2015 budget.

The director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Harel Locker told journalists in a briefing at the beginning of this week the government plans to limit cash transactions between businesses to NIS 5,000 after a one-year period, with the initial phase to begin at just NIS 7,500. Private citizens will be allowed cash transactions of up to NIS 15,000. But if the legislation goes through, the use of checks will also be restricted.

The initiative is aimed at ending the “black economy” that operates in much of the country, Locker explained, adding that  money laundering has risen over the past two years. He pointed to some three million cash transactions, each of which was more than NIS 5,000, that totaled some NIS 273 billion since 2012, as proof that things have to change.

The government, said Locker, has instead decided to take a leaf from the American notebook and is recommending that banks issue debit cards, rather than the VISA and MasterCard credit cards they currently use.

Most Israelis do not carry out transactions for more than NIS 5,000, Locker contended, thus he said it is expected the new plan will not cause difficulties for most of the population.

Nice and tidy — but that may not be the case: newlyweds who are buying furniture and other necessities for new homes often make their purchases with the cash gifts they receive at their wedding. Those shopping sprees are seldom carried out for less than NIS 10,000 and often involve the use of cash for extra bonus points or discount savings.

Other special events and holiday sales also often involve cash purchases as well – a fact the government seems not to be taking into account. Although Locker said he expects approval of the new law by the end of 2014, it is likely there will be more than a few bumps along the way – probably after his colleagues’ spouses find they find they can no longer go shopping without the government getting in the way.

But mostly, this is about too much government intrusion into the private lives and transactions of its citizens, by a government which wants to, invasively, be able to more easily track its citizens down to the smallest detail.

What’s next? Our biometric data on file with the government?

 

Israel, U.S. Reach Agreement on IRS Regs for Dual Citizens

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Americans living in Israel, watch out for this year’s June 30 tax deadline.

The Israel Tax Authority has formally reached an agreement with the U.S. regarding the Model 1 FATCA agreement with the IRS, according to attorney Dave Wolf, of the firm Hacohen and Wolf.

The full details of the FATCA Agreement are yet to be published upon the signing of the FATCA Agreement, but according to the Israel Tax Authority’s spokesman, the agreement contains certain restrictions on the use of information passed to the IRS and relief of reporting for certain institutions.

According to U.S. law, all U.S. citizens — regardless where they live — have an obligation to pay taxes on their worldwide income. In addition, in cases where the aggregate value of all foreign accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year, they also have to report this information on a special form commonly known as the FBAR.

Since July 1, 2013, the FBAR needs to be e-filed before June 30 of the following tax year.

Under FATCA, foreign financial institutions (banks, hedge funds, pension funds, insurance companies etc.) are required to report information to the U.S. tax authorities (the IRS) information about foreign accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.

This means the Israeli financial institutions will have to report to the U.S. government all their clients who are U.S. citizens and/or green card holders, disclosing all these accounts.

This has huge implications for any American living in Israel or abroad who has never reported his foreign accounts or paid taxes on its income to the IRS, and also to some states if applicable (such as NY and NJ).

Individuals have four options with which to comply, according to Wolf, who can be reached at this link for more information.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-u-s-reach-agreement-on-irs-regs-for-dual-citizens/2014/05/15/

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