Council to discuss reducing taxes on small businesses

Struggling small businesses in Haifa have long been seeking to have their tax burden reduced.

The Haifa city council will discuss a reduction in municipal taxes for small businesses around the city, reports Yediot Haifa. Councilor Shlomo Gilboa is pushing for the discussions, saying that reducing the arnona rates for small businesses from the current Tariff A to Tariff B would cost the city only NIS 9 million out of a budget of more than NIS 1 billion per year, but would greatly help the financially troubled sector. According to the report, struggling small businesses have long been seeking to have their tax burden reduced. Gilboa said that after studying documents from the municipal treasurer and after holding discussions with economic officials, it was clear that tax rates could be lowered for small businesses, many of which "are struggling to keep their heads above water." He said the city earned NIS 800 million per year from municipal taxes, and the NIS 9 million needed to help small businesses would not be missed. "But it would give a big boost to streets like Yafo, which has long been abandoned by merchants," Gilboa said. "It would be a strong statement that Haifa assists businesses and is acting seriously to improve the business sector in the city." But a municipal spokesman said that while the council would discuss the issue, it was unlikely that Gilboa's proposal would be accepted any time soon, if at all. The spokesman said that any reduction or increase in municipal taxes required the approval of the Interior and Finance ministries, but an Interior Ministry committee was currently engaged in discussions on municipal tax levels nation-wide, and the ministry was refusing to allow any change in tax levels until the committee concluded its discussions and presented its recommendations. The spokesman did not say when this might occur.