Moshe Asher, Director General, Israel Tax Authority (ITA) told the recent STEP Israel Annual Conference, how the ITA reached out to tax payers in Israel, encouraging them to come forward and regulate their tax affairs.
Last year the ITA sent more than 100,000 letters to those suspected of evading taxes. Mr Asher said, ‘In Israel there is no obligation to file an annual report, however, at the same time, regarding people that have income but have not reported it, including income from real estate and rental related to it, we have continued our campaign with sending 5,000 additional letters to people who are being asked to report their undeclared income.’
A new initiative was to go into schools to educate the next generation on the importance of paying taxes. ‘We explain to them how tax is collected, and what do we do with the money. We are pleased to learn that the young generation does not oppose paying taxes and understands its importance.’
Mr Asher used the conference to announce the extension of the deadline for voluntary disclosure of undeclared funds in overseas bank accounts until the end of the year. The voluntary disclosure programme, which started last September, has prompted 5,000 applications to the ITA. While most were submitted anonymously, applicants’ names are to be disclosed when the tax arrangements are concluded.
Held from June 15-16 in Tel Aviv, the eighth STEP Israel Annual Conference attracted more than 250 delegates, including lawyers, accountants, trust professionals, bankers and managers of family offices.
The conference continued its tradition of hosting the top officials from the ITA. Many of this year’s attendees, many of whom came from overseas including the UK, Switzerland, Germany, France, Unites States and Canada, were eager to listen to Mr Asher’s presentation.
This year’s topics included cross border succession, exchange of information, recent legislation of AML, lawyers’ compliance regulations and cross- border taxation between Israel, the UK, the USA and Canada.
The conference was organized and moderated by the STEP Israel committee, consisting of Meir Linzen TEP, Chairman; Daniel Paserman, Secretary and Alon Kaplan TEP, President of STEP Israel.