By: Eli Doron, Adv; Yaron Tikotzky, Adv, (C.P.A); Dr.Slomo Nass, Adv, (C.P.A)
The global economic crisis has led many Israelis residing overseas to consider returning to the country. Beyond the longing for home, family and friends, this return home conceals significant tax benefits, which the State of Israel has decided to grant on the occasion of the 60 years festivities of the country.
In September 2008 the Knesset has added Amendment 168 to the Income Tax Ordinance, a fact which led to a comprehensive reform as regards to all related to the taxation of new immigrants and returning residents. As part of the reform, new concepts were added such as "veteran returning resident" and "adaptation year", while such reform revised as well the type and conditions of the tax benefits provided to new immigrants and returning residents.
It seems that the purpose of the legislature was the encouragement of the immigration and the return of the brains and human resources to Israel.
It is undisputable that 2009 is a window of opportunities, which is about to close, to those who want to return to the country and enjoy attractive tax benefits.
A veteran resident is a person returning and becoming a resident of Israel after having been a foreign resident for 10 consecutive years.
Despite the aforementioned, as part of the temporary order (within Amendment 168), it has been determined that those becoming residents of Israel during the years 2007, 2008 or 2009, and above, after having been foreign residents for 5 years only, "are also veteran returning residents". Given the above, 2009 is a one-time window of opportunities for foreign residents of less than ten years (and more than 5 years) to become veteran returning residents, with all entailed thereof.
We shall emphasize that a veteran returning citizen is entitled to extensive tax benefits destined to returning residents, such as:
• a veteran returning citizen is entitled to 10 years tax exemption on all his income deposited or accrued from outside of Israel.
• A veteran returning resident is entitled to tax exemption on capital profits resulting from the sale of properties abroad, and above for a period of 10 years as of the date he had become a resident of Israel for the first time.
The legislator has not restricted the benefits to assets purchased by a returning veteran resident to the period of his being a foreign resident (above in contradiction to a returning resident.) Therefore, a veteran returning resident enjoys tax-free on capital gain yearned in result of the sale of property abroad, even if the property was purchased after he had returned to the country.
• A veteran returning resident does not have to file a statement as all his income earned or accrued out of Israel, or factored in his assets outside of Israel, and above for a period of 10 years as of the date he had become a resident of Israel for the first time. A similar exemption is cast also in regards to the declaration on capital.
• A veteran returning resident is entitled to ask within a period of 90 days as of the date of his immigration to Israel that the first year be considered "an adaptation year", i.e. during this year he will not be deemed to be a resident of Israel.
In summary, one may say that the window of opportunities opened by the State of Israel for the return of its residents is about to close this year as it is in its present format.
Therefore, only individuals immigrating to Israel by the end of 2009, even if they were not foreign residents for 10 years (at least 5 years), will enjoy the benefits determined by law to veteran returning residents, as clarified above, that are, as stated, broad and meaningful.
Those who have decided to immigrate to Israel in 2010 or afterwards, could enjoy the status of veteran returning residents only if the returning veteran residents become residents of Israel after having been foreign residents for 10 consecutive years.