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maaser before or after taxes

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Rabbi David Sperling

Elul 2, 5777
Question
Are you required to give taxes on your gross or net income? If it is the net - do you have to take into account the money that is deducted from your gross for retirement/pension, dues, medical insurance, or tax deferred IRAs? Thank you.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. In the work “Maaser Kesafim” (english – Rav C Domb) he writes that all agree that direct taxes like income or capital gains tax should be deducted before maaser is taken. (See Igrot Moshe, YD, 143). In relation to compulsory National Insurance, Rav S.Z. Auerbach zt”l is quoted as saying that this too should be deducted – but maaser would be due on any payments received. As to pension funds, the work “Hilchot Maaser Kesafim” (hebrew -Rav Y Brownstien) rules that these monies are not obligated in maaer, and may be deducted before maaser is taken, however when one receives their pension, maaser will have to be taken from the pension (quoted in the name of Tzadkah U'Mishpat chpt 5, (52)). I hope this is of some help to you.
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