Religion Magazine

Interesting Psak: Shut Down the Tax Malshinon but Call It While It is Online

By Gldmeier @gldmeier

Last week Rav Shmuel Eliyahu paskened that people should not be calling the tax authority's malshinon - snitch line. He said the tax authority should do their work on their own, people should pay their taxes and the tax authority has the right to enforce that and search for those that do not, but people should not be snitching on others.
To continue that debate, an organization dealing with financial issues and halacha, Machon Keter l'Kalkala al pi Halacha, has published a paper disputing Rav Eliyahu's conclusion. The Machon's conclusion is that as long as the tax authority has the snitch line in operation, people are obligated to use it and report to it, albeit following certain guidelines.
Rav Shlomo Ishon, head of the Machon, differentiates between the need for citizens to report offenders and between the questions of whether it is right for the government to encourage citizens snitching on each other.
Regarding the social issue, it is wrong for the government to encourage citizens snitching on each other - it harms the stability of society as people will lose trust for one another. The government should not have opened a snitch line, the malshinon, but should find other ways to encourage people to pay their taxes and create an atmosphere of shame for those who do not.
However, with the malshinon in place, Rav Ishon says, people have the obligation to do what they can to prevent others from causing harm to other people. Not only are people allowed to call the malshinon and report tax evasion, but there is an obligation to do so.
Despite having such an obligation to call the malshinon, one should only do so under certain conditions:

  1. he knows the information firsthand, and is not just relying on information he heard form others.
  2. the activity he is reporting on must definitely be tax evasion, and not some activity that might have another explanation
  3. the report must be specific and accurate
  4. when reporting, one cannot give any commentary of his own or irrelevant details
  5. one cannot report out of a sense of revenge
  6. the person reporting must not be guilty himself of tax evasion

(source: Srugim)

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