Tax Authority to crack down on rabbis

Tax Authority releases new regulations declaring rabbinical, kabbalistic services to be taxed as businesses.

Matt Wanderman ,

Siddur and gavel
Siddur and gavel
Nati Shohat/Flash 90

The Tax Authority has produced new regulations, declaring that rabbinical and "kabbalistic" services will now be taxed, Globes reports. This includes leading prayers, weddings, circumcisions, and consultations, as well as selling mystical talismans.

The new rules were put together following a report by the State Comptroller on tax liabilities for people offering religious serices.

It notes that taxes will apply in any case that includes the exchange of money, even if the service provider does not ask for renumeration and there is no tradition of payment for the particular service. However, giving charity or offering money as a form of gratitude without connection to a service will not be taxed.

Religious figures providing these services will have to keep and file financial records now. The regulations state that VAT laws will apply if the service resembles a business. Providers will thus have to register their businesses, declare their assets, and file returns for their income.

Last December, authorities already ordered surprise audits on about 400 rabbis and mohels, and found that about one in four had never filed tax information on their income.