The Finance Ministry has decided to defer imposing tax on stock market gains until economic growth in Israel and the world is restored,

Ma'ariv

reports.

Nor will the treasury tax gains on other financial gains, such as bank deposits and saving accounts, for the time being.

The Finance Ministry plans to change taxation in two stages. The first stage will be to tax gains made abroad. The second stage, tax on stock market gains, will only be implemented in about two years.

The treasury hopes the delay will help companies raise financing in order to restore growth.

Taxing financial gains was a key element in the tax reform proposal compiled by a panel headed by treasury director-general Avi Ben-Bassat.

Today Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Finance Minister Silvan Shalom will meet to discuss the truncated reform taking shape.

Ben-Bassat formulated his reform plan under the wing of the previous finance minister, Avraham Shochat. Shalom has already announced that he objects to key elements in the plan.