TAXATION OF FOREIGN JOURNALISTS
1). The situation, as to the 3 year 25% exemption for foreign journalists is still valid.
2). Since the attempt, in the "Hok HaHesderim, 2009", to curtail this exemption, and the FPA's intervention, nothing has changed.
3). The Legal basis remains the same:
(a). Section 2 of the Income Tax Ordinance (New Version), 1961 – any income derived in Israel, is subject to the Israeli Income Tax.
(b). Section 75A. of that Ordinance – enables the Minister of Finance to grant exemptions from such tax to foreign journalists and foreign sportsmen.
(b). The Income Tax Regulations (Foreign Journalists), 1996 – grants to foreign journalists:
(i). The right to deduct expenses relating to lodging, rent and meals
(ii). A limited tax rate of 25% for a term of 3 years.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS - PLEASE CHECK WITH A CUSTOMS AGENT AS SOME ISSUES PERTAINING TO PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT ARE BEING REVISED AND UPDATED FOLLOWING AN URGENT FPA REQUEST INITIATED IN 2013 HOPEFULLY TO BE RESOLVED BY THE END OF 2015.
VEHICLE IMPORT INFO - THE GPO INFORMED US AS FOLLOWS (SINCE 2006 ):
The Israel Tax Authority Department of Customs & VAT (http://tinyurl.com/y3jyyn) requests that members of the foreign press make all necessary arrangements for the importing of vehicles into Israel in advance.
In order to import a vehicle, journalists must possess and present the following:
Valid working visa (B1) in Israel;
- Valid GPO press card;
- A letter confirming employment by a foreign media organization;
- Document verifying ownership of vehicle or;
- Power of attorney from company if vehicle company owned;
- Permit from Ministry of Transportation for armored vehicle;
Customs officials stress that arrangements should be made in advance, preferably coordinated by the GPO.
AS OF MAY 2006 the following agreement was reached with customs re the import and export of TV equipment:
Each company will provide the customs offices with one of 3 set bank guarantees, according to the various sizes of the companies. The sums are for 10,000, 20,000 or 30,000 SHEKELS. These will be renewed yearly (made out to the Customs Office, Tel Aviv-Jaffa) and determined by the customs authorities, together with customs agents, according to 2005 customs reports. The customs agents will handle the paperwork and arrange with each individual office to present these guarantees.
This procedure will be reviewed periodically.
Also, it is most important to register equipment going through the bridges and border crossings! Please have your paperwork stamped both going out and coming in and fax it to your customs agent.
The customs offices are relying totally on the customs agents' reports. They will check these reports against their own paperwork but all assessments and monetary claims will be handled through registered customs agents only.
Those members who use different customs agents must contact them to arrange this new procedure with the customs authorities.
We believe this is the simplest, least bureacratic and lightest-on-the pocket arrangement. We hope you feel the same.
Visitors who do not have permanent, registered, offices in Israel will continue to wipe credit cards, as a bond, upon entry into the country.
PROCEDURE FOR CLEARANCE OF COMMUNICATION AND PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT BY FOREIGN JOURNALISTS As of JULY 2005
A. The purpose of these procedures is to settle the clearance of communication and photography equipment imported by foreign journalists (hereinafter - "the equipment"), in a way which will allow proper supervision.
B. The equipment may be imported in one of the following ways:
1. As unaccompanied luggage
2. As accompanied luggage
a. By a journalist of an operating news agency registered in Israel.
b. By a free-lance journalist, with no agency in Israel
3. Using an ATA Carnet
C. Equipment Imported as Unaccompanied Luggage listed in the airplane manifest, will be released only according to a conditional exemption import entry, under the importer number of the relevant news agency, and Tariff Heading 6.6500. The agency must add to the entry a detailed list of the equipment, typed on its official stationery, which includes the value of the
goods and their serial numbers.
D. Equipment Which Was Imported for The First Time as Accompanied Luggage by a Journalist of a foreign news agency registered in Israel
1. At the passenger hall of the Ben Gurion Airport, or at the Land Border Crossing, the journalist must submit a detailed list of the equipment, typed on the official stationery of the agency, that includes the value of the goods and their serial number. The list will be submitted (or photocopied) in triplicate, and will be signed by a customs official. Occasionally, random checks will be conducted to verify that the list and the goods actually imported correspond.
2. The list will be distributed as follows:
a. One copy - will be given to the customs official at the passenger hall of the Ben Gurion Airport or at the land border crossing and will be forwarded for continued monitoring.
b. The second and third copies will be returned to the journalist. One copy of these copies will remain at the news agency for its own follow-up purposes, and the other copy will be forwarded by the agency to their customs agent for handling. The list approved by Customs will allow entrance of the goods into Israel through the passenger hall of the Ben Gurion Airport or the land border crossing.
3. On the first of each month, the news agency must submit the import entry for all the goods which were imported in the previous month. The entry will be submitted by a customs agent to the customs house through which the goods were imported. The entry will be a conditional exemption entry and will be classified under Heading 6.6500 to the Annex of the Customs Tariff. These entries will be accompanied by copies of the equipment list that were imported through the same customs house, as detailed in Paragraph 1 above.
E. Equipment imported by a free lancer, with no agency in Israel:
The journalist must release the equipment by depositing a cash or credit card guarantee.
F. All agencies and journalists may release equipment using an ATA Carnet, in accordance to the accepted practice, or by depositing an appropriate guarantee.
G. In any case, import of communication equipment is subject to an authorization from the Ministry of Communication, especially wireless or satellite communication equipment.
Authorization from the Ministry of Communication will ONLY be required for a satellite communications van.
H. Export of the Goods
1. When temporarily exporting the equipment abroad, the journalist must obtain from Customs a temporary export form, in order to smooth the return of the equipment to Israel at a later date.
2. As proof of final export of the equipment for closing the monitoring of the conditional exemption entries, an export entry will be used, as usual, or the above mentioned list, whereas the exportation is confirmed by a customs official at the passenger hall of the Ben Gurion Airport or the land border crossing. The passenger hall at the Ben Gurion Airport or the land border crossing will receive a copy of the list at the time of exportation, will confirm that the exportation has taken place and will forward it directly to the Conditional Exemption Unit in Tel Aviv Customs House, which will close the file.
1. Each news agency will administer, for its own purposes and for Customs, exact supervision and follow-up of the movement of the equipment.
2. When opening the conditional exemption file at the Tel Aviv Customs House, all news agencies will have to deposit a bank guarantee equal to 10% of the taxes.
For further information or clarifications journalists arriving through the Ben Gurion Customs House may contact the following numbers:
Tel: 03 9751139 http://www.mof.gov.il/customs/eng/ForeignReporters26-07-05.htm
We would like to remind all our members, with permanent offices in the country that detailed, typed, lists on company letterhead are essential.
Media that is not represented here permanently is advised to come in with Carnets. Otherwise the customs officials will wipe their credit cards to make sure their equipment leaves as planned.
NB. satellite transmission equipment needs a Ministry of Communications license - in advance.