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Israel Imposes New Cash Transaction Limits to Promote Digital Payments

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Israeli officials have imposed new restrictions on cash transfers to reduce crime and promote digital payments across the country. Beginning next week, this new restriction will apply to transactions exceeding $4,400 and business transactions exceeding $1,760. Large cash and bank check payments in Israel are now even more restricted due to changes that went into effect on Monday. 

According to sources from the Media Line news outlet, tax officials intend further to restrict the circulation of cash in the country to reduce criminal activities such as the laundering of illicit funds and tax evasion and promote digital payments in the country.

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The new law lowers the previous threshold of 11,000 shekels ($3,200) and requires businesses to use non-cash methods for all transactions exceeding 6,000 ($1,760). In addition, cash limits for private individuals who are not registered business owners will be set at 15,000 shekels (approximately $4,400).

ITA’s Tax Authority’s Main Concern is Legislation’s Ineffectiveness 

AS per Tamar Bracha, who is in charge of enforcing the law on behalf of the Israel Tax Authority (ITA), the main goal of this law is to reduce the use of cash. 

Lawyer representing clients in an initial appeal against the law filed in 2018, the primary concern is the legislation’s ineffectiveness. According to Uri Goldman’s figures, the money supply has increased since the law’s implementation.

Israel and CBDCs

Businesses and customers in Israel have been subject to cash payment limitations. That’s possible under the Act for the Reduction of the Use of Cash from January 2019. Its purpose is to urge businesses and individuals to accept digital payments. So that law enforcement can detect tax fraud, criminal behavior, and money laundering as swiftly as possible.
The government, which explored establishing a CBDC for the first time towards the end of 2017, is also among several in the region investigating central bank digital currencies (CDBCs). The results of a poll conducted on the Bank of Israel’s ideas for a “digital shekel” were released in May, finding strong support for further research into CBDCs and how they would affect the payment platform, financial and monetary soundness, as well as legal and technological issues.

The Bank of Israel conducted its first technological experiment with a CBDC in June, revealing laboratory research findings on user privacy and the usage of smart contracts in payments. In addition, the country is developing a regulatory framework for digital assets.

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