Business ‘arnona’

Taking stock of discounts for businesses.

Breakdown of initial business Arnona charge in 2017 (photo credit: JERUSALEM INSTITUTE FOR POLICY RESEARCH)
Breakdown of initial business Arnona charge in 2017
One of the proposals to remedy the Jerusalem Municipality budget crisis is to reduce the amount of arnona discounts for businesses.
The proposal focuses on nonresidential property tax and not, as examined in the past, on the residential arnona. The amount of discounts on residential property tax (NIS 350 million, or 27% of the initial charge) is higher than the discounts for businesses (NIS 277 m., or 19%).
Discounts are granted to businesses of IDF disabled veterans, or for owners whose business is their only one, provided that it generates less than a certain amount of annual revenues; the business owner is an elderly person (a man over 65 or a woman over 60); and the size of the business does not exceed 75 sq.m. Hence, the feasibility of a discount is greater for residential than business properties.
In addition to businesses, nonresidential property tax includes religious and other institutions, municipal properties, agricultural land, banks, cinemas, industrial plants and parking lots. Among these categories, the assets recognized as “religious institutions” receive a discount of 98% of the charge, whereas municipal properties also receive a high discount in taxes (76%) and institutions receive 58%. The arnona charge for municipal properties constitutes 7% of the total amount charged for nonresidential property tax; religious institutions constitute 1.7%; and institutions 18% of the charge. Being a large category, the discounts received by institutions constitute more than half (54%) of all nonresidential discounts.
What about businesses? These constitute 33% of the nonresidential properties, while their discounts constitute a mere 5% of the total nonresidential exempts. However, in terms of collection, there is room for improvement in the business sector, since only 75% of the amount charged is actually collected, so that even considering the discounts (at approximately 3%), another 22% of the charge is still not collected.
Jerusalem, as a metropolitan city, is a commercial and employment center for the surrounding communities and the potential for raising taxes for such types of assets is high, but improving collection is important.