Israeli Court Orders Disclosures About Tax Breaks

10 July 2013

 The Tel Aviv District Court July 8 ruled that the Finance Ministry must disclose the list of companies that have received tax breaks under the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investment.

The judge said that the information requested was not confidential under the tax code, as the government argued.

Judge Michal Agmon-Gonen gave the government seven days to provide the  financial publisher Globes with information about the companies that received the tax breaks and the identity of the 10 companies that received the largest tax breaks, including the amounts of the tax breaks.

The judge wrote: “At the center of the case in favor of delivery of the requested information is the public interest in knowing. The information of which disclosure is sought is public information in the clearest sense, since the tax breaks awarded under the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investment originate in public money that is awarded annually by administrative decisions, and which the Tax Authority distributes as the public’s emissary.”

She later argued that publication of the information would improve the Tax Authority’s functioning, saying: “The publication of this information will strengthen the Tax Authority’s credibility in the eyes of the public, in that it will serve as evidence that when the Tax Authority draws up the state budget and decides how it will distribute the public pie, a process in which political, economic, and diplomatic considerations are involved, it considers all the relevant rights and interests.”

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