Companies owned by the Zisapel brothers are appealing the taxman's decision not to give them a break on the purchase of a replica of the Auguste Rodin statue, Thinking Man.
The statue has been placed at the Zisapel's RAD complex, called the Ziv Towers, in north Tel Aviv.
The brothers filed their appeal with the Tel Aviv District Court. Their case is that the statue was purchased by Zisapel Nechasim (Properties), which specializes in constructing and managing office buildings.
Until recent years it constructed buildings exclusively for the group's own hi-tech subsidiaries, but it has since branched out to external companies as well.
Zisapel Nechasim's flagship project, it claims, is the Ziv Towers, which represents its aesthetic bent as well. The building sports pools and a statue garden, featuring¿ the Thinking Man replica, bought around a year ago for about $3 million.
At first the taxman was sympathetic to the company's plea that the statue is an integral part of the structure. But then it changed its mind and issued the company a new tax bill, saying it couldn't deduct tax on the work of art.
Zisapel Nechasim claims that it can deduct tax because the effigy was purchased for business purposes, and that the taxman should liberally interpret the rules.
It points out that the statue garden is a major attraction of the large Ziv Towers complex, which encompasses 40,000 square meters of office space, 54,000 m2 of parking space and 6,000 m2 of commercial space. People often come by the towers specifically to see the statue, the company adds. While about it, some take advantage of facilities such as restaurants and stores. Ergo, the statue is an attraction for business and as such, is worthy of a tax break.
Moreover, Zisapel Nechasim points out, as for taxing art ¿ the taxman has granted it breaks on other pieces at the Ziv Towers.