Not Claiming Your Tax Refund? The Government Is Earning Millions From It

The government is making millions off of unclaimed tax refunds - NIS 55 million a year, to be precise. That's what eligible taxpayers fail to claim, reports Oketz Systems. And why? Because they fear the taxman.

The company, which collects data on salaries, pensions and taxes, surveyed 10,000 people employed in all lines of work, and found that only one out of 20 seeks tax refunds.

Most people, even those who firmly believe they are owed a tax refund, simply are afraid to contact the tax authorities, says Ami Bergman, one of Oketz's CEOs. They fear the taxman will rule they owe money instead. "In most cases, that fear is baseless," he says.

Who may be eligible for a refund? People who were not employed for the full year, or whose eligibility for tax breaks changed over the course of the year. For instance, a woman who gave birth in the middle of the year is likely to be eligible for a tax refund, because she now has more tax rebate points.

"Tax rebates are particularly relevant during this period of economic crisis, when many people found themselves out of work for part of the year, but paid high income tax rates during the months that they did work," says Bergman.

Also on the potentially eligible list are people who deposited money into provident funds, pension funds or executive insurance policies (bituach menahalim), people with disabilities, new immigrants, demobbed soldiers, workers with more than one job, those with disabled children, people with parents in nursing care, and people who made donations to recognized nonprofits.