Most Working Mothers Won't Benefit From Child Care Credits

Most working mothers in Israel, between 60 percent to two-thirds, earn so little that they find that they owe no income tax.

According to an opinion paper published by Macro Center, prepared by its head, Rubi Natanzon, a former chief economist of the Histadrut labor federation, and Yoram Gabay, the former head of state revenues in the treasury, due to the low wages and the already high number of tax exemptions granted to working mothers, the Finance Ministry's proposal to recognize child-care expenses for tax purposes is completely unrealistic.

According to the proposed law, working mothers with children between the ages of three months and 5-years-old would be able to benefit from the tax break either by presenting receipts for child-care or additional exemptions.

The paper claims that the new law would only benefit the upper and middle classes, since presenting receipts is difficult and complicated, particularly when much child care is either provided by relatives or without tax receipts. In addition, salaried workers who are not required to file annual returns would have to do so just to receive the refunds.

Instead, the recommendation is to increase the subsidies provided for day care significantly, possibly even making it free. This would solve the problems of working mothers at all salary levels.

They also criticized the plans for a negative income tax, claiming that while it was in theory a good idea, the proposed plan was not feasible.