Supermodel Bar Refaeli liable for Israeli taxes on foreign revenue

The Israeli cover girl maintains she was living in America with then-boyfriend Leonardo DiCaprio, but the tax authorities claim she was actually living in Tel Aviv and owes back taxes.

April 23, 2019 11:55
1 minute read.

Bar Rafaeli and Ruth Westheimer, also known as Dr. Ruth, ring the opening bell at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange during the first-ever Forbes Under 30 Summit Global in May 2018 . (photo credit: PR)


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Bar Rafaeli must pay Israeli taxes on money she earned abroad, determined the Israeli Tax Authority. Rafaeli lost her appeal at the Central District Court in Lod on Monday.

Lawyers for the world-famous Israeli-born model claimed that since she was living abroad she was technically a foreign resident and not liable for both Israeli and US taxes. The closed-door litigation involved what constitutes a family unit and which years the Tax Authority had previously declared her a foreign resident.

Rafaeli's lawyers claimed that her relationship with former long-time boyfriend, American actor Leonardo DiCarprio, constituted a family unit.

Officials insist Rafaeli was actually living in apartments in Tel Aviv listed under the names of family members.

Refaeli’s attorney, Moshe Mizrahi, told Ynet news in January, the tax authorities are reneging on a deal she signed in 2009 and the case has “been blown out of proportions... all of the agreements were on the table, she hasn’t hidden anything.”

Mizrahi and fellow lawyer Udi Barzilai, told Calcalist business news on Monday that the main years in dispute are 2009-2010, when Refaeli was living with DiCaprio. "At the end of 2009 Refaeli and the Israeli Tax Authority reached an agreement that the model would be considered a non-Israeli resident since 2007... accordingly, Refaeli reported being a non-resident for 2009 and 2010," they told Calcalist.

The two lawyers said their client could appeal to a higher ruling.

In addition to appearing on the covers of top magazines, Rafaeli – now married with two children – has appeared in films, television and engaged in several fashion related business ventures. She has also participated in an Israeli Water Authority campaign to reduce water waste and has advocated for the reduction in plastic bag usage. 

She will co-host the main event of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Tel Aviv.

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