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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As residents of the North return to homes and businesses looking to resume their normal lives, the Israel Tax Authority this week established a national administration campaign to handle the rebuilding of homes and property that were directly damaged during the conflict.
The Israel Tax Authority said on Tuesday that about 16,000 buildings were damaged in the North during the month of conflict, according to latest estimates, without providing details about the size of the financial damage caused.
The rehabilitation administration will operate for at least three months with seven regional centers and 200 employees recruited from various Tax Authority departments.
To date, over 8,000 claims for property damage caused by Hizbullah rockets have been submitted to the Tax Authority, of which 6,000 are claims of damage to homes and public buildings and 1,700 are claims for damage to vehicles. The rest are claims for damage to farms and equipment.
In addition, 6,000 claims have been submitted for indirect damage to trade, services, industry, hotels and agriculture. The Tax Authority estimated that 90,000 claims in total for indirect war damage would be filed.
Jacky Matza, director of the Tax Authority said most claims were for less than NIS 5,000 for light damage, such as broken windows, for which no tax assessor was needed. In these cases, the price of repairs would be paid out immediately from the NIS 3.5 billion property tax compensation fund.
Matza added that for families and citizens who cannot return to their homes because they were severely damages, up to $600 a month would be provided for temporary accommodation at hotels or renting an apartment.
The tax authority's campaign provides phone guidelines to residents on what to do if war damages were caused to their buildings. House, office and business owners are being asked to contact their local or regional tax authority center by telephone to report the damage and receive further instruction. The case then will be processed by the tax compensation department, which will send assessors out to the damaged building and help the owner to fill out compensation claims forms. Claims need to be reported within two weeks of the day of damage, while the claim forms need to be handed in within 90 days.
Rebuilding or rehabilitation of damaged houses will be carried out either by the owner of the house or property tax contractors.
In the former case, property tax assessors will fix a maximum compensation sum. House owners then will have to submit contractors' work receipts to property tax authorities for reimbursement.
Similarly car owners, who report war damages to the regional or local tax authority center, will be referred immediately to a garage of their choice for repairs.