The Central District Court today permitted publication of its full ruling dismissing the tax appeal by international Israeli model Bar Refaeli. As reported by "Globes" two and a half weeks ago, the court ruled that Bar Refaeli must pay tax in Israel on tens of millions of shekels in overseas income earned in 2009 and 2010, but the amount of tax that she must pay was barred from publication until now.
The court today permitted the publication of its ruling that Bar Refaeli owes NIS 8 million in taxes in respect of the two disputed years. The court also obligated Bar Refaeli to pay NIS 120,000 in court costs.
On Refaeli's income, the court stated, "According to the tax assessment for the appellant (Bar Refaeli, E.L.-W.), NIS 8,593,955 in taxable income was added in 2009 and NIS 7,860,987 in 2010."
Refaeli sought to prevent publication of the amount of her income and the names of the witnesses who testified at her appeal. The court rejected her petition, however, and allowed publication of the complete ruling.
The court accepted the position of the Kfar Sava tax assessment office in the Israel Tax Authority, which was represented by Adv. Arik Liss and Adv. Revital Ben-David from the fiscal department in the State Attorney's Office (civil matters).
Refaeli plans to appeal the against ruling, and has hired Adv. Pinhas Rubin, a leading tax expert who heads the Gornitzky & Co. law firm, for the purpose.
The ruling follows the decision by the State Attorney's Office Taxation and Economics department to indict Refaeli and her parents, Tzipi and Rafi Refaeli, on tax offenses involving her overseas income, subject to a hearing.
The Refaeli affair concerns alleged tax evasion amounting to tens of millions of shekels and alleged fraud against the state in 2009-2012 by the model. The investigation of the affair began in the investigative offices of the Tel Aviv tax assessment department in the Tax Authority.
Refaeli is an Israeli model who developed an international career. Questions arose concerning her income, amounting to tens of millions of shekels, and to which country she should pay tax on it.
The District Court ruled that Bar Refaeli was an Israel resident in the 2009-2010 tax years, and should therefore pay tax in Israel on her income during those years. After examining all of the model's connections with Israel during the years in the assessment, it was found that she was an Israeli resident during those years. Even a compromise agreement for previous years did not change the result.
Rubin and Adv. Sagit Ohana-Livne from the Gornitzky & Co. law firm said that they believed that there were grounds for appeal because of the positions taken by the District Court, which should be reviewed by a higher judicial authority. The lawyers will argue that Refaeli's center of life and business during the relevant tax years was outside Israel, especially since she was the partner of Leonardo DiCaprio during those years.
Presumption of innocence: Bar Refaeli, Tzipi Refaeli, and Rafi Refaeli have not been convicted of any crime. Even if it is decided to indict them, subject to a hearing, they are merely suspects, and are entitled to be presumed innocent.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 12, 2019
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