Interpretation of Tax Law: The Role of Human Rights in the Supreme Court Jurisprudence (פרשנות דיני המסים: מס אמת וזכויות האדם בפסיקת בית המשפט העליון)
18 Law & Business (IDC Law Review) 400-465 (2014)
65 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2016 Last revised: 8 Dec 2016
Date Written: 2014
Tax law plays a central role in protecting human rights and especially the rights of property and equality. The interpretation of tax law is very much important and critical in the process because interpretation can change the law without changing legislation. In tax law, interpretation draws the line between public finance and private property and rights. This article analyzes the rules of interpretation in tax law and the role of human rights in the process of interpretation.
In this article I discuss the development of the interpretation theory and practice in the Supreme Court Jurisprudence which transitioned from literal to purposive interpretation. I will argue that in recent years we can identify several signs of a return to literal interpretation, including the decisions of the court in the cases of "Keles", "Malkelli" and "Polity".
In my opinion, the adoption of literal interpretation in the aforementioned cases did not balance between human rights and taxation in accordance with the proportionality principle. I argue that the literal interpretation in these and other cases caused disproportionate infringement of human rights. I believe that this return and regression to literal interpretation is not appropriate and I call for rethinking this return and its effects on human rights in a constitutional era. I call for maintaining purposive interpretation that appropriately and proportionally balances taxation and human rights as the leading theory of interpretation in tax law.
Keywords: interpretation, human rights, tax law, Israeli tax law, courts
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