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Shabbat Parashat Ki Tisa 5777

Ki Tisa | 20 Adar 5777 | 18/03/2017

P'ninat Mishpat: Who Is Responsible for Municipal Tax When? part I

The plaintiff (=pl) is an organization that rented property from Aug. 2004, with renewed contracts, until July 2010. In July 2008, the defendant (=def), another organization, sublet the property until the end of pls contract in 2010. Subsequently, def rented the property from the owner independently without a contract. In July 2011, def signed a contract but the arnona (municipal tax) account was still in pls name until Jan. 2012. The entire time, arnona was not paid, which caused a huge debt (974,632 shekels from Jan. 2007-Jan. 2012) which included inflation adjustments and interest. The lawyer pl hired to negotiate a payment plan with reduced penalties and tax breaks for their being NPOs, lowered the debt to 700,000, and arnona going forward was lowered due to defs NPO work. Pl and def, which both benefitted from his work, disagree how to split up his 60,000 shekel fee. Pl wants it and the balance of the arnona debt to be paid according to the amount of time each used the property, i.e., pl Jan. 2007-June 2008 (period A) = 30%; def July 2008-Jan. 2012 = 70%.) They argue that the fact that def preferred to keep things in pls name (contract, arnona account) should not harm pl. Def is willing to pay in full from July 2010 to July 2011 (period C) because they were full renters at that point. However, regarding the time they were sub-letters (period B), they should pay only according to the rate they are paying now because it was pls obligation to transfer the account to def, who could have received a bargain price. So too, in period D, when there was a contract between def and the owners, pl could have removed themselves without defs help and the fact that pl was charged at a high rate was their own problem.


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A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, ztl, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).

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