The Finance Ministry is considering a plan to eliminate the exemption on custom taxes on personal imports of up to $75 in order to make up the shortfall in the budget, and help Israeli retailers and shopping malls.
Israelis who make purchases through the internet on international sites will be particularly affected by the proposal.
According to a report published on the Globes business news website, the proposal is part of a larger package of proposed measures to pick up a needed NIS 20 billion shortfall in the budget for 2020.
The recommendations are to be presented to the next Minister of Finance after the elections, who is expected to lead the ministry in completing a budget for cabinet approval by the end of December 2019. The budget should be passed by the Knesset by the end of March 2020.
If all that gets done on time, and the proposed measures are left intact, it is expected the VAT exemption will become a thing of the past by next April (2020).
Nevertheless, for now, the entire issue is still one of speculation.
“The Ministry of Finance has made no preparations, and the senior professional staff will make no preparations, on the subject of the 2020 budget before a new government is formed,” Ministry of Finance director general Shai Babad said in a statement to Globes.
“The entire system is waiting for the appointment of a new government and a new minister of finance to set a policy from which the professional staff can devise a work plan.”