Tax appointment process similar to US, UK

All ministerial appointments must be reviewed by a 3-person committee to ensure the candidate's qualifications.

By LEAH GRANOF
January 4, 2007 22:33
1 minute read.
Tax appointment process similar to US, UK

us israel 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Despite the scandal rocking the Tax Authority, Israel's vetting process for appointing top officials to the authority resembles practices in the UK and US counterpart organizations. For starters, the top job of director general, at this point still held by Jacky Matza, is the only position within the Tax Authority that requires a ministerial appointment, which is done by the finance minister assumes responsibility for the appointment. Although this creates the possibility for political patronage, all ministerial appointments in the country must also be reviewed by a three-person committee in the Civil Service to review the candidate's qualifications. The committee is typically led by Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander and two private citizens with expertise in the field of the appointment in question. After the committee approves the candidate, the appointment must be confirmed by a majority vote from the prime minister's cabinet, with majority implying "a significant number of the ministers that far exceeds a 50 percent majority." Similar to Israel, only the top positions within the parallel US organization, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), require political appointment. Somewhat more daunting, however, the appointments for the IRS commissioner and chief counsel come directly from the president and must be confirmed through an often bi-partisan Senate. Although there is a rigorous vetting process for political appointees in the US, the IRS was reorganized in the 1950s under President Harry Truman specifically to eliminate numerous political appointments, which had proven more prone to scandal, and move the organization more towards a civil service capacity. "A lot of the politically appointed tax collectors were involved in scandals," an IRS spokeswoman explained. The organization has been scandal-free since then, she confirmed. Meanwhile, the UK's HM Revenue and Customs Administration is much less politically inclined, requiring only British Parliamentary oversight on the top position within its administration made by civil service authorities. "It's a civil service post and not a ministerial post," a Treasury spokesman explained. "The civil service tends to be pretty scandal free, because it's impartial." Regardless, Matza and his fellow indictees are accused of allowing businessmen to influence the appointments of senior officials within the authority in exchange for bribes - technically all non-political accomplices.

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