Tax Authorities Bust Gang Over Gas Tax Evasion

YERUSHALAYIM -
A closed shop by a "Yellow" gas station. July 18, 2014. Photo by Danielle Shitrit/FLASH90 *** Local Caption *** ???? ??? ????
A closed shop by a “Yellow” gas station. (Danielle Shitrit/Flash90)

Tax authorities have arrested 24 suspects in what they called a major evasion scheme, in which gas stations in the “triangle” area of central Israel avoided paying hundreds of millions of shekels in taxes. The scam was based on the distribution of fictitious receipts for the purchase of gas from wholesalers, and avoiding issuing receipts to retail customers. Over 100 tax enforcement officers participated in the roundups at over a dozen gas stations.

The scam involved refunds on excise tax that gas stations are eligible for. The receipts shortchanged the amount spent on gas, maximizing the refund. Authorities said that the scammers received some NIS 50 million ($13 million) that they were not entitled to.

Officials said that the investigation was initiated after a tax official several months ago filled up at one of the stations eventually raided. The official noticed that the receipt machine at the station did not work on a consistent basis, raising his suspicions. An investigation was started and eventually expanded, leading to the raids, the Tax Authority said.