"The passage of the income tax reform is a holiday for Israelthe ones who will enjoy the tax reductions are anybody getting up for work in the morning" (Finance Minister Silvan Shalom, yesterday, July 24, 2002).
• I, Moshe, work at a textile plant
and gross NIS 5,000 a month. I got up as usual at five in the morning, after hearing the finance minister say on the radio yesterday that anybody getting up in the morning would enjoy the tax reform.
When I got to work I was told not to talk crap, there's no change in net income for me this year, and that I should be grateful to still have a job given the deteriorating economic situation.
I don't know how to get through the month after my rent went through the roof with the dollar's exchange rate, and my bill at the grocery keeps rising week in and week out. For months now, it's been rising.
But I'll hang on and wait to enjoy the tax reform. I saw this table in the paper, it shows that my net income will grow by 2% next year, under the finance minister's tax reform, and by 2006 it will grow by 4%. Like Silvan Shalom said a holiday for the nation, and a holiday for Moshe!
• Me, Jacob,
I sell washing machines and I make NIS 11,000 a month gross. I got up as usual to go to work and my wife told me bread prices shot up, so did buses and our cable TV subscription and bank fees, too.
We can't fly abroad this year for vacation because of the dollar's rise, and our mortgage it had finally started to go down after five years of payments just grew by 7% this year. It's grown bigger than the original loan we took out.
But the finance minister promised we'd enjoy the fruits of his tax reform big time. Today I pay marginal tax of 45%, before national insurance and health insurance, but in 2005 when I'm 58 years old it will drop by 4%, so my net will grow by NIS 500! A holiday indeed.
I'm Itzik and I work at Comverse Technology (Nasdaq:CMVT)
. No, I haven't been fired yet. I get NIS 20,000 a month before tax. But after tax of 50%, plus health and national insurance, and my mortgage, I have about NIS 6,000 left net. Everything I buy has grown more expensive, interest on my overdraft has tripled and my city taxes have gone through the roof.
I ask myself, Itzik, what in tarnation is going on here? You are one of those hi-tech workers you keep reading about in the paper, how successful you are, so why aren't you getting through the month? You're a screwup, Itzik, has to be.
But the finance minister promised I'd wake up with a song in my heart this morning, because in 2005 my net will grow by 3%. That's on condition that the economy grows by 4% a year till then. I read in the paper that nobody has the slightest clue with growth in the next quarter will be, and that it might well be zero next year but never fear! Silvan is here and he promised that anybody who got up to work this morning would benefit.
So I'm patiently waiting. This is a holiday, isn't it?
Me, Yair, I'm an accountant.
What do you know, suddenly I'm a celebrity. Yesterday I got up, stretched and felt in my bones it would be a great day, even though my picture in the paper showed my right profile, which I don't feel is the better one.
I waded through the press and photographers crowding the door to my office, explaining to the howling reporters that today's a historic day for the People of Israel.
Morons didn't get it. Yeah, I know, tax was complicated to begin with, and the tax reform we planned makes it doubly so.
The sheep kept bleating these stupid questions such as "How will the reform be financed" and what happens if the Israeli economy doesn't grow by 4% a year, or why tax only drops significantly in 2008 while tax on savings rises from 2003 (couldn't you scream) and all those other petty things that bother jerks who don't understand a damn thing about taxation and fail to grasp the sheer genius involved in that "transparent companies" scheme.
But I took a deep breath and said to myself, Yair, I said, that's the price you pay when you get drafted to help the public sector of Israel, a nation where no favors are granted, and everybody is scrabbling to find the negative side of things. Between us, it's all nonsense, a month from now the papers will have forgotten the whole thing. But for me, business in 2002 and 2003 will be the best I've ever had. By 2008 I can retire. Boy, I never had such a great time leaping from bed as today.
I'm Avi, a lawyer and PhD and a tax expert.
I got up as usual and even before opening the paper I knew it would be a festival at the office. I hadn't even reached the car before I had three financiers on the phone and five big names in hi-tech asking me to set up "management companies" to help them "plan" their taxes meaning, to evade that extra 10% in their national and health insurance bills.
Two of them had already noticed that loophole of reduced tax on options that we approved in the tax panel the other day. They asked whether their pay could be converted to options right from 2003, while meanwhile they borrow from their companies.
Take it easy, guys, I soothed, you can't plan taxes over the phone. Call my secretary, set up a proper meeting, coffee's on me. It'll all work out fine.
But Finance Minister Silvan Shalom was dead right. Ah, it is great to get up in the morning.
My name is Pini and I'm a tax lawyer
. I got up with the birds and read in the paper that our finance minister promised everyone who gets up to work in the morning will profit. Well, okay, I don't need the finance minister to tell me that: I'm his advisor.
On Tuesday, during a meeting of the tax reform committee, I transmitted a crystal-clear message to all my clients when I declared that all "tax planning" had to be rethought. (We all finagle our taxes, after all, or at least the filthy rich among us do.)
Lo and behold, while I was driving my work my secretary called me on the car-phone, complaining that the office was crammed with hysterical millionaires clamoring to rethink their tax schemes after hearing on the radio that the tax panel on which I sit! had bunged up all kinds of loopholes.
Relax, I told her, get them all sodas and make sure we have plenty of invoices on hand to bill them for our labor. Then I dialed home and warned my family I'd be coming home late for a while. But have a blast, I advised my nearest and dearest: It's a holiday today.