Municipal property tax (Arnona) is one of the main sources of income of local authorities, and its advantage is that it constitutes non-earmarked self-generated income, thus supporting the authority’s economic independence.

In 2018, Israeli local authorities charged their residents and businesses for a total of NIS 30.2 billion, or an average of NIS 3,400 per resident per year. About half of the charge (NIS 14.5 billion, or NIS 1,630 per capita) was given for residential property, and other major uses were offices, services & commerce (7.5 billion, 840 per person) and industry & crafts (3.1 billion, 350 per person). The authorities with the highest amounts were the major cities, namely Tel Aviv (3.3 billion), Jerusalem (2.9 billion), and Haifa (1.5 billion). Jerusalem was the leader in housing, and the total housing bill here was NIS 1.3 billion. All Arnona data are from “Local Authorities in Israel 2018” published recently by the Central Bureau of statistics.

Comparing cities to local and regional councils reveals that the bulk of the charge for offices and services (also including commerce, banks and insurance companies) was in cities, where it stood at NIS 1,150 per resident, compared to much lower amounts at regional and local councils – NIS 460 and 240 per resident respectively. Industry and crafts are concentrated mainly where there is a lot of space – in the regional councils (NIS 650 per resident, compared with 360 in cities and 110 in local councils). Interestingly, the charge for hotels in the regional councils (NIS 77 per person) was also higher than in the cities (50).

Geographically – most of the billing seems to be in the central region. A particularly high property tax bill was recorded in the Tel Aviv and Central districts (NIS 5,070 and 3,630 per resident respectively). The highest charge, both residential (NIS 2,000 per resident) and non-residential (3,070) was recorded in the Tel Aviv District. In some of the districts, the charge for residential properties was relatively close to that of Tel Aviv (such as 1,890 in the Central District), but in the non-residential charge, none of the districts reached even NIS 2,000 per resident. This large gap is due to the abundance of the Tel Aviv District in workplaces that attract many employees from the other districts.

Looking at the authorities by the socio-economic status of the population, it is evident that in the residential Arnona there is an increase in the charge as the authority is in a higher socio-economic cluster, with the two authorities in highest cluster (Savion and Kfar Shmaryahu in cluster 10) charging an average of NIS 7,010 per capita per year. In clusters eight and nine, the average residential charge is NIS 2,150 and NIS 2,980 respectively. In the lowest clusters one and two, the average residential charge is NIS 507 and NIS 1,280 respectively.