Jan 29, 2014
Tax Authority might hit "shnorrers" who travel abroad
The "cash cow" that is the business of going abroad to "shnorr" donations might be coming to an end.
It might be good for some people - those who complain about being bombarded in shul in every major city with a Jewish community in the USA and Europe, and it might be bad for others - those who rely on it for their organizations and institutions or their personal needs, or it might be bad for everyone - those who give even though they complain might lose a tzedaka opportunity that literally comes right to them (though there will always still be plenty of local opportunities wherever they are)...
The director of the Tax Authority, Moshe Asher, said, not specifically about the "shnorrers", you have a person who travels 10 times a year, but by us he registered as earning minimum wage. Or, a person who has four apartments and does not report the rental income he brings in from them - and according to reports submitted he earns less than minimum wage.
Asher says the tax authority is working to identify the people who should be submitting reports as to their true income but are not. Based on many new parameters being taken into account, tens of thousands of possible tax evasion situations are being discovered, Asher said. People will soon begin receiving letters informing them to submit reports, and taxes will be collected for years that they were not paid.
source: The Marker
Kikar has taken Asher's words and concluded that the industry of shnorrers is now at risk.
Kikar spoke to a couple of people who are worried about the report and think it might affect them.
One person said he travels 12 times a year but barely makes a living, and has a very low salary. This person runs a chessed organization. He says he would have to start filing detailed reports of each trip, how much was spent, how much was collected, etc. - he says "[the organizations] are barely getting by as it is with the donations being down and the subsidies being cut, and now to add the requirement for reporting and bureaucracy?"
Another person said he travels for personal needs several times each year. He says shnorring might not be a respectable profession, but for many in the haredi community it is a basic need for subsistence. He says people in the community make do with the minimum because they dedicate their lives to Torah and spirituality and there are social pressures, such as marrying off kids, that require people to travel abroad frequently. He says he lives hand to motuh and is in debt just so that he can marry off his kids... he lives off his kollel stipend, and everything he collects goes to his kids and family, and now, half would go to the tax authorities. he wants the askanim of the haredi community to fight and prevent this.
I feel bad for them. it is tough going through such a major change, that will require serious change in the entire system, and might hurt a lot of people. However, this collecting of money and not reporting it is no different than any business. Nobody wants to pay taxes. People work hard for their money. There is no reason to expect that a business should have to pay a lot of money in taxes but other people should not.
As long as they were able to get away with it, more power to them. I dont think people should choose to live their lives lechatchila looking for handouts, but if thats what they choose and they can find a way to do it without being obligated to pay taxes or if they think they do not need to, that is their choice, their business. But I do not think it is wrong for the government to change the system. Until now they got away with it, because it was not regulated properly, but really they are no different than anyone else. Your average employee is living from paycheck to paycheck as well, many living in the red - that is not a reason to demand that the State let them not pay taxes. Obviously people will have to pay at the tax rate based on the income - if he is making such a small amount of money, as he claims, he will pay less taxes.
I feel bad for them, but I am not impressed with the complaint.
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