End Jerusalem Municipality’s Collective Punishment of Its Foreign Residents!
The municipality demands far stricter compliance concerning the income tax deduction of the property tax from its residents who are foreign citizens than Israeli residents of the capital * And this despite a whopping 40% of the capital’s residents who are foreign nationals!
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Numerous requests for help from foreign residents has reached Israeli Shortcut about the far more onerous conditions which are imposed on them in comparison to Israeli residents. For instance, if several foreign residents live in one apartment, all must appear at the Property Tax Dept. to get the income tax discount for property tax instead of one of them representing all the others by showing their passports and other required documents. In contrast, Israeli residents can ask for a discount through mail or even through a power of attorney.
Israeli Shortcut contacted the Property Tax Dept. and asked why the conditions for getting the property tax discount is so much more onerous for foreign residents?
Their reply: “After the Finance Dept. and several city councilmen held an in-depth deliberation, the decision was made to stiffen conditions for foreign residents seeking the income tax deduction.”
Adding insult to injury, they further said, “Our previous investigations showed that property owners and foreign passport owners were pulling a fast one on the municipality. They submitted requests for a discount on the name of a foreign passport holder who hadn’t ever lived in that residence, and the municipality gave them a discount for reasons of income. The ones actually living in the apartment deceptively received a discount they didn’t deserve.”
Israeli Shortcut replied, “Why is the municipality imposing collective punishment on a whole public due to the sins of a few? Why are foreign residents being so grossly discriminated against in comparison to Israeli citizens? Doesn’t the municipality have many means to deal with violators such as investigators to inspect suspicious cases and imposing penalties stipulated in law on swindlers? Why are they treating the whole public as if they are guilty of fraud when in fact the vast majority are honest and upright?”
To bolster our case, we provided a professional opinion from the legal department of the Interior Ministry that impugned the discrimination, and said among the rest, “Differentiating between foreign residents and regular residents seems a little bizarre” and which advised us, “We recommend that you contact the Jerusalem municipality and ask for clarifications concerning the regulations described in your letter.”
The mayor’s office brushed off any responsibility with the evasive claim that “the regulations were establish a year and a half ago with most of the councilmen’s consent and can not be changed.”
Israeli Shortcut’s chairman Zev Zer comments on that, ‘The onerous conditions that the municipality imposed doesn’t even prevent the so-called deception, and the claim that the majority of the councilmen supported it is more than a little ingenuous. Foreign residents contribute immensely to the prosperity and economy of Jerusalem. If we would treat foreign residents properly, undoubtedly more would come and even remain in Israel for good.
“Our present mayor seeks friendship with our American ally and wants it to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem, so why is he demeaning American citizens living here — especially considering that 40% of the city’s residents are foreign citizens?”
Israeli Shortcut has contacted the City’s Ombudsman and asked that it re-evaluate the discriminatory situation. We will inform visitors of upcoming developments.