Monday, November 23, 2009

Israel's TV Tax, Taxation Without Broadcast Reception

The State of Israel has a Television Tax Law which requires payment by all TV owners, even if the set is used for VCR and DVD only.  It's supposed to cover expenses of the IBA Israel Broadcasting Authority.

That may make sense in principle, but the truth is that they don't broadcast all over, certainly not to my neck of the woods in Samaria.  Our TV doesn't receive Israeli television broadcasts.  Jordan comes in better.  Recently, the government has sent inspectors out to fine people in the yishuvim ("settlements," sic,) and force us to pay the tax, although we receive no service/reception. 

Neighbors who do want to watch Israeli television shows pay a monthly fee to "yes," a "cable" company.  The package includes much more than IBA shows.  It's not cheap, not at all, and its service and the "fine print" make it a Pandora's Box of unpleasant surprises.

Some people have paid for private "satellite dishes" to receive international television.  That's a one-time payment.  Now that my father is living with us, there's more of a need for television.  We have to decide what to do.  We can continue without television or we could sign up for "yes" or get a residential satellite.


Keli Ata said...

Something sounds terribly amiss. Do they actually go into the houses in the "settlements" to see if someone has a TV and fine them?? That sounds pretty intrusive, if that's the case.

Do they do this with all of their viewers?

Over the air broadcast TV should be totally free. It is in the US. I don't have cable and watch TV over the air with a digital converter box for cable quality reception; also use the TV for VCR.

I don't pay a cent for it.

It sounds like the IBA has you over a barrel--pay the tax without reception or sign up for cable.

Satellite might be better for your dad, especially if he's able to watch international shows, ie. from the US.

Batya said...

Actually, they have been knocking on doors recently. The IBA was first established to be like the BBC.

Unknown said...

Could someone sue them for "failure to provide service". Since they charge you the tax, don't they pretend to be providing the service?

Batya said...

I would if I have to.

יונתן said...

If they MUST squeeze us for more money, why they don't just fold the agra into the cable bill somehow and work something out with Hot and Yes.

Batya said...

If we had reception of all the Israeli channels, I wouldn't mind paying. HOT and YES would be a lot poorer or wouldn't exist.

Anonymous said...

Hi -
I know this is an old post, but I just found it.

I had to go in person to Reshut Hashidur and tell them that I no longer own a TV. Actually, it is a TV, but we cancelled cable, the TV does not receive 'on air' broadcasts, and it's hooked to a computer & we use it as a monitor. My daughter does her homework on it now.

I guess I got lucky - they asked me to pay the back tax (550 nis), and then gave me a letter exempting me from future TV tax assessments.

near Har Meron