A woman contacted the Office claiming that she ran a small business in a storeroom that she rented in a house within the vicinity of the city of El'ad. She had applied to the Agency for Small and Medium Businesses within the Ministry of Economy and Industry for a discount in municipal tax that was being granted to businesses - that experienced a decline in income due to Covid-19. Her application was approved, but the El'ad Municipality refused to grant her business the discount, on the grounds that the house owners, and not the business itself, were registered as the holders of the storeroom in which the business was situated.
The investigation disclosed that the business had in the past received an exemption from municipal tax for the months March-May 2020, an exemption that had been granted to businesses that had been adversely affected by Covid-19.
The investigation also revealed that although the storeroom was registered in the municipality's records under the name of the house owners, the municipal tax assessment had been split, so that the municipal tax on the house had been assessed at the rate charged to a residence, while the tax on the storeroom had been assessed at the higher rate charged to businesses.
The Office of the Ombudsman pointed out to the municipality that it had been excessively inflexible under the circumstances of the case, and that it should grant the business the discount in municipal tax in accordance with the approval received from the Agency for Small and Medium Businesses. The municipality notified the Office that it had acted as advised.