Businesses are getting a “coronavirus break” in the form of a 25% discount on their annual property/municipal (arnona) tax. The across-the-board cut is in place for all businesses, including retailers, offices, factories, restaurants and hotels. The discount effectively gives businesses a three-month break from paying the tax.
The deal was worked out by officials from the Local Authority, Finance Ministry, Interior Ministry, and industrial and business organizations. Many businesses have been forced to close under Health Ministry emergency rules, and for weeks businesses have been protesting the fact that they are still required to pay all taxes, even as they are prevented from doing business.
The hope among officials is that the three-month suspension of taxes will enable businesses to survive the coronavirus lockdown with a minimum of expense and aid in preventing layoffs of workers. The deal will see the Interior Ministry lay out NIS 2.8 billion to make up for the loss of the tax to municipalities and local authorities. NIS 1.7 billion will be transferred to cities and towns in the coming days.
Municipalities say they badly need the money – and then some – to supply services to residents who are largely at home full-time. One of the results of that has been a significant increase in the amount of trash being generated by residents. Many cities report that trash cans are as much as 50% fuller these days, because much of the trash that individuals would have generated while at work is now being generated at home.
Some cities have increased the frequency of trash collection, and besides the extra salaries they have to pay to trash collectors for the additional shifts, cities also have to pay more to the disposal sites where trash is collected, sorted, recycled or buried. Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri said the government was aware of the problem and was working on solutions to help cities and towns cope with the trash collection issue.