Mazuz orders tax collected on rabbis and kabbalists' blessings

Until now, blessings and talismans were gray market items.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz recently ordered the Israel Tax Authority to collect taxes on rabbis' and kabbalists' income from blessings and talismans.

The Tax Authority asked Mazuz for guidelines in this matter, following a settlement with Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira. Under the settlement, Rabbi Abuhatzera is paying NIS 15 million in taxes on payments received for blessings and talismans.

Until now, blessings and talismans were in the gray market; in effect, rabbis and kabbalists have paid no taxes on money received for blessings and talismans for years.

Following discussions on the subject between the Tax Authority and Ministry of Justice, tax regulations will be strictly applied on rabbis and kabbalists. In general, payment for services rendered should be subject to business income tax. For this purpose, a service is classified as providing a blessing, advice, and a religious or other ceremony.

Mazuz told the Tax Authority that the rule will also apply to Rabbi Abuhatzeira for the period not included in the tax settlement with him.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on March 16, 2005

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