Israel´s Finance Ministry seeks to rescind tax breaks for foreign journalists (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Emilie Grunzweig 07/02/12)
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The Finance Ministry intends to rescind income tax breaks for foreign
journalists stationed here, according to senior political figures who
asked to remain anonymous.
The treasury has tried in the past to withdraw the special conditions
for foreign athletes as well as for journalists, but in the Economic
Arrangements bill accompanying the last state budget the Finance
Ministry proposed canceling them only for the foreign journalists.
For their first three years in Israel, foreign journalists can claim
the rent on their residence here, as well as expenses for meals and
lodging, as tax deductions, and are charged a flat 25 percent tax on
According to both a study by the Knesset Research and Information
Center and a position paper issued by the Foreign Press Association
in Israel, the addition to state revenues from the proposed changes
would be minimal.
The FPA argued that it could lead foreign news networks to reduce
their footprints in Israel, which could means a loss of Israeli jobs
and revenue from goods and services. It also warned that it could
hurt Israel´s image abroad.
The sources judged the likelihood of the breaks being cancelled as
high, in part due to the fact that the Government Press Office has
been director-less since Oren Helman left the post for a position at
the Israel Electric Corp. six months ago. In his stint at the GPO
Helman fought, successfully according to some media industry figures,
against the treasury proposals.
The Finance Ministry declined to comment. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz
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