Tax Au­thor­ity sets sights on Is­raelis’ ac­counts in Ger­many

Jerusalem Post - - BUSINESS & FINANCE - • By ELA LEVI-WEINRIB

As part of its war against un­re­ported cap­i­tal, the Is­rael Tax Au­thor­ity re­cently ob­tained a list of par­tic­u­lars of hun­dreds of banks ac­counts owned by Is­raelis in banks in Ger­many, sources in­form Globes.

The Tax Au­thor­ity is now pro­cess­ing the in­for­ma­tion in or­der to find ac­count own­ers who have not re­ported the money held in the ac­counts and their in­come from it. Sources also in­form Globes that the list of Is­raelis ob­tained con­tains per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, ac­count print­outs and num­bers, the amount of money held by ev­ery ac­count owner, and other par­tic­u­lars. The list con­tains ac­counts with var­i­ous amounts of money, from hun­dreds of mil­lions of eu­ros to a few mil­lion. On the ba­sis of these amounts, it can be as­sumed that the list will re­veal names of prom­i­nent Is­raeli busi­ness peo­ple and wealthy in­di­vid­u­als.

The Tax Au­thor­ity is now ex­am­in­ing the “Ger­man list” for the pur­pose of de­tect­ing tax evaders. In the first stage, the au­thor­ity will ex­am­ine and sort the ma­te­rial, and com­pare it with re­ports by those Is­raelis to the tax au­thor­i­ties and the in­for­ma­tion in its data­bases. The doc­u­ment se­lec­tion process will de­tect which of the cus­tomers re­ported the ac­counts in Ger­many in their deal­ings with the Tax Au­thor­ity and which re­ported the ac­counts in the frame­work of the vol­un­tary dis­clo­sure pro­ceed­ing al­lowed by the Tax Au­thor­ity un­til the end of 2016 with­out risk­ing crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings.

Leaks and of­fi­cial ex­changes of in­for­ma­tion

Hold­ing an over­seas bank ac­count is nei­ther a tax vi­o­la­tion nor any other kind of vi­o­la­tion, but there is a duty to re­port such a hold­ing, and not all Is­raelis with over­seas ac­tiv­i­ties ful­fill this duty.

Is­raeli cit­i­zens are legally en­ti­tled to keep over­seas bank ac­counts, but they must re­port their ac­counts and the in­come pro­duced by them, in­clud­ing in­come from in­ter­est, div­i­dends and cap­i­tal gains, to the Tax Au­thor­ity. The Ger­man list is one more in a se­ries of lists of Is­raelis keep­ing over­seas bank ac­counts ob­tained by the Tax Au­thor­ity in re­cent years. The best known of these lists is the list of cus­tomers of UBS Switzer­land, the ex­po­sure of which led to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of dozens of cus­tomers who did not re­port ac­counts, and the fil­ing of a num­ber of in­dict­ments. Other lists ob­tained by the Tax Au­thor­ity in­clude one of se­cret ac­counts at HSBC Switzer­land and the Panama doc­u­ments.

The Ger­man list was ob­tained in the frame­work of co­op­er­a­tion and ex­changes of in­for­ma­tion be­tween the Is­rael Tax Au­thor­ity and au­thor­i­ties in the Fed­eral Repub­lic. This is a con­tin­u­a­tion of Tax Au­thor­ity head Moshe Asher’s de­clared pol­icy of look­ing for lists of Is­raelis with un­re­ported over­seas money as part of the au­thor­ity’s war against un­re­ported cap­i­tal. It in­volves both “un­of­fi­cial” lists leaked by em­ploy­ees of the over­seas banks and of­fi­cial ex­changes of in­for­ma­tion be­tween coun­tries. Asher re­cently stated at a con­fer­ence, “The Tax Au­thor­ity is very busy col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion about Is­raeli money around the world by ob­tain­ing lists: UBS, Panama and oth­ers. We have be­gun ex­chang­ing in­for­ma­tion with the US, and start­ing next year, we will ex­change in­for­ma­tion with over 90 coun­tries. Loop­holes are be­ing closed world­wide; that’s the trend. We will get to ev­ery­body.”

Re­newal of vol­un­tary dis­clo­sure

The Tax Au­thor­ity has also been tak­ing ac­tion in re­cent months to re­new the vol­un­tary dis­clo­sure pro­ceed­ing en­abling Is­raelis to re­port their un­re­ported cap­i­tal and pay tax on it with­out fac­ing crim­i­nal charges. In the course of the pro­ceed­ing that ended on De­cem­ber 31, 2016, NIS 25 bil­lion in un­de­tected funds was ex­posed in 7,400 vol­un­tary dis­clo­sure re­quests, on which NIS 3b. in taxes was col­lected.

(Ralph Or­lowski/Reuters)

THE HEAD­QUAR­TERS of Deutsche Bank is spot­lighted dur­ing an open­ing cer­e­mony in Frank­furt in 2011.

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