The rules for filing annual Israeli tax returns are complex. Here is an overview
of the requirements for the 2011 tax year, namely the year ended December 31,
When is the filing deadline?
The deadlines were recently extended
for the 2011 tax year.
The filing deadline is June 28 for online
individual filers (see below). The filing deadline is May 31 for businesses
required to keep double- entry books and for other individuals.
extensions for filing can be requested from the Israel Tax Authority if you have
a good reason.
Alternatively, most accounting firms are allowed to spread
out the filing of their clients‚ tax returns over a longer period, without
providing reasons, according to a special arrangement between the ITA and the
Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Israel.
indexation on overdue 2011 tax runs from January 1, 2012.
Who must file
Online filings are obligatory if you are required to file a tax return
(see below) and you have income from employment, or a business or a profession.
In such a case, you must also print and sign the online return and file it at
your tax office on paper. When filing a paper return, ask the tax office to
stamp a photocopy “received” (nitkabel) for your files.
the above, no online filing is needed in the following cases: (1) if your income
from a business, employment and agriculture did not exceed NIS 78,670, nor did
your spouse’s income exceed that amount, nor did your joint income exceed NIS
157,330; or (2) if you and your spouse have reached retirement age (generally 67
for men, 64 for women); or (3) you are a 10-percent- or-more shareholder in an
Israeli company; or (4) you claimed a “negative income tax” benefit.
has to file a tax return? In principle, Israeli resident individuals over 18
must file a tax return unless they are eligible for a filing exemption. These
rules apply even if you don’t need to file online.
Who is exempt from
Residents will be EXEMPT from filing a tax return if all their income in
the tax year was salary income or rental income, or foreign income, foreign
pension income, interest income, securities income, or other income or a
combination thereof – but only if a number of conditions are met, as summarized
(Certain people must always file an annual tax return as described
in the next paragraph):
• New and senior returning residents are exempt from
Israeli tax and reporting obligations regarding non-Israeli source income and
gains for 10 years after becoming Israeli resident.
residents are individuals who lived abroad at least five years and returned to
reside Israel in 2007-09, or lived abroad 10 years if they returned to Israel
• Employment income may fall within the filing exemption if it did
not exceed NIS 628,000 in 2011 (for each spouse) and the required tax was
withheld at source. Employment income includes salary, pension, severance pay, a
lump sum paid instead of a pension, share and share-option gains.
Rental income may fall within the filing exemption if it was from renting out
residential accommodation in Israel, the required tax was paid, it did not
exceed NIS 326,000 in 2011 (for each spouse), 10% tax was paid thereon by
January 30, 2012, and no expenses, losses, exemption or credit was
• Foreign income may fall within the filing exemption if it was
accrued or derived outside Israel or if it relates to foreign securities or
Israeli company securities publicly traded on an exchange outside Israel; it did
not exceed NIS 326,000 in 2011 (for each spouse); and tax was paid on account
unless an exemption applies. (See above for new and senior returning residents.)
• Foreign pension income may fall within the filing exemption if any tax due has
been paid and it did not exceed NIS 326,000 in 2011 (for each spouse). (See
above for new and senior returning residents.) Special considerations apply to
• Interest income: The filing exemption only applies if the
income is exempt or any tax due was withheld; the income must not exceed in
total NIS 623,000 in 2011 if it was taxable. Where tax applies, it is due at
rates of 15% (instruments unlinked to the rate of inflation or an exchange rate)
or 20% (linked instruments) or up to 45% (in 2011, if interest expenses are
claimed; or the lender holds 10% or more of any means of control of the
borrower, an employee or service provider, or is related to the
• Securities income may fall within the filing exemption if it
relates to the sale of securities traded on a stock exchange in Israel or
abroad, or a sale of makam shortterm bonds; it is exempt or any tax due was
withheld; and it must not exceed in total NIS 1,797,000 in 2011 if it was
• Other income may fall within the filing exemption if it did
not exceed NIS 326,000 in 2011 and was any of the following: income from which
45% tax was withheld even if you are eligible for a lower rate, or at least 30%
tax was withheld if so approved by the ITA (to get any lower rate, you must file
a tax return); income that is exempt from tax, provided it is not business,
professional or salary income.
Who must always file?
above, Israeli resident individuals must generally file an annual personal tax
return if they fall into any of the following categories:
• Holders of a 10% or
more interest in a privately held entity, directly or indirectly. This does not
apply to new and senior returning residents for 10 years, as outlined
• A married couple not entitled to claim separate tax
calculations; for example, because their income is not from independent
• If income includes severance pay upon leaving an employment or
death, or a pension lump sum that the ITA allowed to be spread over more than
• Sports persons.
• An individual who was required to
file a tax return in the previous year, unless this was because he or she was a
residential property landlord.
• If the individual, or the individual’s
spouse or child under 18, held at any time in the year any of the following: any
right in a foreign-resident entity that is not publicly traded on a stock
exchange; or other foreign assets if their value on any day in the year was NIS
1,813,000 (in 2011) or more; an account at one or more foreign banking
institutions if the total balance in all foreign banking institutions on any day
in the year was NIS 1,813,000 or more. This does not apply to new and senior
returning residents for 10 years.
• If the individual conducted a taxable
realestate transaction (directly or via a real-estate entity) in the year unless
tax was paid at the maximum rate, or if the tax was spread over more than one
• With regard to trusts, annual tax returns are required from: the
trustee of an Israeli Residents’ Trust or an Israeli Residents’ Testamentary
Trust (the latter having at least one Israeli resident beneficiary; on Form
1327) or any trust with income or an asset in Israel; but if a settlor or
beneficiary are elected to be “assessable or chargeable,” or a “representative
settlor/beneficiary,” they file the return instead of the trustee (on Form
1301); the trustee of a trust that has income or an asset in Israel (Form 1327).
Trusts are complex and specific advice is strongly recommended in each
• Holders of 10% or more of a passive controlled foreign
corporation (CFC) or a foreign professional corporation (FPC), as defined in the
tax law. This reporting requirement shall not apply to new and senior returning
residents for 10 years, as outlined above.
• Special reporting
requirements apply to anyone who conducts a prescribed reportable tax-planning
act (also known as aggressive tax planning).
• Anyone else asked to file
a tax return by an assessing officer.
Do children have to file an Israeli
Israeli resident children who were under 18 at the beginning of 2011
must file an annual tax return if they had taxable income of NIS 75,600 or more
in the year.
Do foreign residents have to file an Israeli tax return?
principle, foreign resident individuals who derived taxable Israeli source
income in the year must file an annual Israeli tax return.
may be EXEMPT from filing a tax return if the required tax was withheld and the
income is one of the following: a business or profession conducted in Israel for
no more than 180 days in the year; i.e., salary, pension, annuity, interest,
dividend, rent, royalties. In practice, Israeli banks are required to withhold
tax from most payments to rates – typically 25%. It is necessary to apply
upfront to the Israeli payor’s tax office to apply any more beneficial
provisions in a bilateral tax treaty or the domestic Israel law. No tax is
withheld on patach foreign-currency bank deposits for five to 20 years at
Israeli banks if the appropriate bank forms are filled out when remitting funds
Which companies have to file? Briefly, any entity that has
income that is taxable in Israel must file an annual Israeli tax return,
accompanied by audited financial statements.
As always, consult
experienced tax advisers in each country at an early stage in specific
Leon Harris is a certified public accountant and tax
specialist at Harris Consulting & Tax Ltd.