Today, Israel becomes the 91st jurisdiction to join the Multilateral Convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters. This powerful instrument for cross-border tax assistance has now been signed by all OECD members – an important show of unity in our common fight against tax evasion.
Israel signed today the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, making it the 91st jurisdiction to join the world’s leading instrument for boosting transparency and combating offshore tax evasion.
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Israel has the 4th lowest tax wedge among the 34 OECD member countries. The average single worker in Israel faced a tax wedge of 20.5% in 2014 compared with the OECD average of 36.0%.
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The tax burden in Israel increased by 0.9 percentage points from 29.6% to 30.5% in 2013. The OECD average was an increase of 0.4 percentage points from 33.7% to 34.1%. The Israeli standard VAT rate is 18%, which is below the OECD average. The average VAT/GST standard rate in the OECD was 19.1% on 1 January 2014.
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Israel.
The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes is the multilateral framework within which work in the area of tax transparency and exchange of information is carried out by over 120 jurisdictions which participate in the work of the Global Forum on an equal footing.
The Global Forum is charged with in-depth monitoring and peer review of the implementation of the standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. These standards are primarily reflected in the 2002 OECD Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters and its commentary, and in Article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital and its commentary as updated in 2004, which has been incorporated in the UN Model Tax Convention.
The standards provide for international exchange on request of foreseeably relevant information for the administration or enforcement of the domestic tax laws of a requesting party. “Fishing expeditions” are not authorised, but all foreseeably relevant information must be provided, including bank information and information held by fiduciaries, regardless of the existence of a domestic tax interest or the application of a dual criminality standard.
All members of the Global Forum, as well as jurisdictions identified by the Global Forum as relevant to its work, are being reviewed. This process is undertaken in two phases. Phase 1 reviews assess the quality of a jurisdiction’s legal and regulatory framework for the exchange of information, while Phase 2 reviews look at the practical implementation of that framework. Some Global Forum members are undergoing combined – Phase 1 plus Phase 2 – reviews. The ultimate goal is to help jurisdictions to effectively implement the international standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.
Ensuring tax and transfer systems bring sufficient revenue to reach macroeconomic fiscal targets, address societal goals in re-distribution and social welfare, recognise the influence taxation has on businesses’ competitiveness and adequately address environmental externalities is a tough challenge, arguably more so in Israel than in many other OECD countries.
The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes has released peer review reports assessing the tax systems of 13 jurisdictions for information exchange.
OECD countries acknowledge that taxes must play a role in the process of fiscal consolidation as they battle unprecedented budget deficits. In 2010, the majority of OECD governments have stabilised their tax to GDP, with the average ratio moving up slightly from 33.8% in 2009 to 33.9% in 2010.
Despite some best-practice policies, challenges remain in raising employment and lowering poverty, particularly among Arab-Israeli and Ultra-orthodox households, as discussed in this working paper.
Monetary policy and inflation prospects are broadly sound in Israel, but significant challenges remain for fiscal policy in reducing public debt, as discussed in this working paper.