Bar Refaeli to Do Community Service, Mother Gets Jail Term in Tax Evasion Plea Bargain

The Refaelis to pay $1.4-million fine for misleading tax authorities on supermodel's ties to Israel while claiming she was based in the United States

Efrat Neuman
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Bar Rafaeli (left) and her mother Tzipi.
Bar Rafaeli (left) and her mother Tzipi.Credit: AP, Tomer Appelbaum
Efrat Neuman

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli will serve nine months of community service and her mother 16 months in prison, according to a plea bargain in a tax evasion case the two were formally charged in on Tuesday.

Refaeli and her parents, Tzipi and Rafi, have reached an agreement with the prosecution on allegations of tax evasion and false tax reporting

The plea agreement, which is aimed at settling all criminal and civil claims involving the supermodel’s taxes, will require the family to pay any outstanding taxes that the tax authorities determine are due, in addition to a 5 million shekel ($1.4 million) fine. Bar Refaeli will also withdraw the tax appeals that she currently has pending before the Israeli Supreme Court and the Tel Aviv District Court for the years 2009 through 2012.

About a year and a half ago, the prosecutor’s office informed Refaeli and her parents that it was considering filing criminal charges against them, subject to a preindictment hearing, on suspicion of providing false information to the tax assessor and of concealing information to minimize the model’s ties to Israel, in an effort to avoid paying Israeli taxes.

According to the indictment filed on Tuesday, Tzipi Refaeli is charged in part with providing false information and failure to report income to avoid paying taxes or to aid someone else in evading tax. Bar Refaeli is charged providing incorrect information without legal justification.

The four presenters of the Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv: Assi Azar, Bar Refaeli, Erez Tal and Lucy Ayoub.Credit: Eyal Nevo

At issue in one of the tax appeals that Bar Refaeli filed was the question of which country was the center of her life for tax purposes at a time when she was in a relationship with American actor Leonardo DiCaprio. She claimed that the center of her life at the time was the United States, but was ordered in April of last year to pay 8 million shekels in tax for the years 2009 and 2010 based on a finding that she was a resident of Israel during that period.

Under Israeli law, residency for tax purposes is determined first and foremost by whether the person spends most of the year in Israel. But the law recognizes other factors that may take precedence, such as where the person’s family lives and where he or she is employed.

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