Reduction of municipal taxes

Municipal tax is imposed annually, at the beginning of the year, on any building or land being used, and is not related to profits and losses of the property owner. The amount of the municipal tax is determined according to several fixed parameters: size of the property, its use, and its geographical location within the local authority. Each local authority has a different property tax order that sets the classifications and rates at which the properties in the city area are charged. There billing method is not uniform. Local authorities use different methods to determine the tax amount, while building measurement involves a variety of methods as well. Our firm represents owners and holders of real estate properties across the country, in the business and institutional sectors, and does not represent local authorities.

Reduction of development levies/fees

Tolls, development levies and construction fees (paving, water piping, sewerage, installation of canal systems, etc.) are mandatory payments imposed by municipalities and water and sewerage corporations on real estate developers and property owners. We are witnessing a phenomenon according to which, upon applying for zero debt certificate once a property is sold, the municipality reviews the property and assesses new, substantial levies as a condition for granting the certificate (a condition that is illegal in many cases). Each municipality has its own by-laws with regard to the rates of paving and canalization levies and with regard to the rules of calculating the amount to be charged. When it comes to water and sewerage infrastructure, water corporations charge a construction fee as a condition for obtaining a building permit.

Reduction of betterment levies/special assessment

Betterment levy is a mandatory payment collected from a landowner or alternatively, from a long-term lessee, for an increase in land value due to expansion of building rights. The rate of the levy is half of the land value increase, and it is usually charged upon profit realization activities, such as applying for a building permit, selling the property, etc. Betterment levy is also collected upon applying for an irregular use of the property (zoning variance). The increase in land value and the levy amount are determined by a real estate appraiser on behalf of the municipality’s local committee, and can be appealed. The levy’s due date is on the day the rights are exercised according to the committee’s approval, such as: sale of rights in the property, receipt of a building permit or the date in which an irregular use commences. It is important to know that failure to pay the betterment levy on the date set by the committee’s appraiser, will result in a high interest rate charge of 6% per year, a charge that is tied to the CPI (consumer price index). This charge is in effect up to the date of the actual payment, nevertheless, there are ways to prevent it in advance.

Reduction of construction fees and water and sewerage levies

Currently, construction fees and water and sewerage levies are collected by water corporations or by the municipality in which they operate. In municipalities that do not have water and sewerage corporations, the collection of water piping and sewerage levies is carried out by companies owned by the municipalities. Construction fees are set at rates that are determined by legislation. The levy’s assessed amount is derived from the amount of water consumed and the use of the property in which the consumption occurs (domestic consumption, water for industry, water for agriculture, etc.). Levies are also assessed at uniform rates set by law. In municipalities that do not have a water and sewerage corporation, the sewerage and water piping fees are set in the by-laws of the municipalities. On the other hand, in municipalities that have a water and sewerage corporation, the rates are set in regulations. The impact and extent of water and sewerage charges is often concealed, since they are collected in installments and are intertwined with each other. Taxpayers are often unaware of various exemptions and reliefs with regard to sewerage fees.

Property sale agreements

Our office has a dedicated department that represents clients as part of property sale transactions and agreements. The office’s skilled staff supports the client starting from negotiations and preliminary review of all rights in the property and up to the stage of drafting the sale agreement, while also handling matters of real estate taxation and procedures related to the purchase or sale of real property. In a real estate transaction, the attorney’s level of expertise is crucial, particularly when it comes to reviewing the rights and liabilities related to the property, reviewing unpermitted construction and identifying possible consequences of capital gains tax and/or betterment levies that are expected as a result of the transaction. Our office also specializes in representing clients in complex transactions that involve properties with unpermitted construction and assist them all the way through the completion of the transaction, while maintaining the client’s best interests.

Distribution of real estate and rights in a business upon divorce

In light of our extensive experience with representing clients in a wide variety of cases concerning real property, businesses and companies, we have identified a growing need of business and companies’ owners to provide a solution for the distribution of real property and rights in a business/company during a divorce settlement. For that reason, we have established a unique department that handles division of property in family law, headed by attorney David Khoury, who possesses many years of work experience and proven record of accomplishment in this field. Family disputes are becoming more common and their complexity is growing. The disagreements revolve around matters such as property, children and real property, all of which accompanied by a great deal of emotional stress. Managing such disputes requires a sensitive approach as it is not just a matter of distributing the property, real estate and chattels, but also a matter of making crucial decisions with dire consequences since in many cases the property in question is the only housing option for all family members. The Head of Department, Attorney David Khoury, is extensively experienced in this field, and had multiple cases in which he managed to reach a balanced arrangement between the parties for the benefit of all family members. Upon family dissolution, in many cases, there is a need to come up with solutions concerning ​​taxation of the house or apartment that are being sold. Our office’s experience in real estate and mediation makes it possible to provide a comprehensive solution for the distribution of rights in real estate between spouses in the best way possible. In this way the family members are able to preserve family funds and also maintain a reasonable and more pleasant relationship. Our office’s experience in the field of real property and real estate transactions, along with the experience of Mr. Khoury in the field of family law, allows us to provide comprehensive solutions for optimal distribution of real property and rights in a business/company in divorce a cost- effective way.

Business licensing and nonconforming use

In certain situations, the use of a property held by a company or business requires changes in the structure or business purpose and/or business license. The owner faces the necessity to contact the municipality and obtain the required permits from the business licensing department, and often from the planning department as well as other departments. Our office has the experience and needed tools that enable us to work efficiently with municipalities, alleviate the frustration that accompanies working with them, and deliver the desired result, all while freeing the client to focus on developing his business operations.

Civil and commercial litigation

The dynamic and competitive business world often involves disputes and conflicts between parties in a transaction. Our office has the ability and skills to resolve such disputes by litigating cases in all courts, including the Supreme Court. Our office’s unique approach combines legal proceedings with mediation and negotiation which ends disputes and provides excellent results for our clients.

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