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Questions on Paying Maaser

Question:

Are we required to pay maaser on the following:

1) Credit Card Rewards – I earn credit card rewards based on the amount of my monthly purchases and the amount of points collected. I always use these rewards to reduce my credit card debt. But there is also another option to get cash back on these rewards. But I have never used that option. Do I need to pay maaser on the rewards earned? On my Uber account I also earn points which can be turned into cash and used to pay for uber rides. Do I need to pay maaser on any cash used to pay for rides?

2) Medical Insurance Deductions on Paycheck – My employer deducts Medical insurance deductions off my paycheck on a weekly basis. These deductions are used to cover some of my employer’s costs for the Health Insurance plan. Do I need to pay maaser on the weekly paycheck deductions?

3) Can I use maaser to pay for Matanos Levyonim or Kaparos?

Answer:

  1. Credit card rewards, are essentially a cash reward that the credit card company is giving the customer, and it is no different than any cash present or money that one earns that maser should be given from it.
  2. Deducting medical insurance charges from one’s salary may depend on the reason that it is being deducted. If the insurance charge is not mandatory, but it is part of the person’s wages, and fringe benefits that the employer gives his employees. The employer pays a part and deducts the remainder from the employees check, then it is considered part of the employee’s wages, and it can’t be deducted from the calculation of income regarding maser. However, if the insurance charge is in the form of a government tax, (such as in Israel) and mandated that employers deduct the health insurance tax from the employee’s wages, then it is like other taxes, and not included in the person’s earning regarding maser.
  3. The halacha is that we do not use maser money to fulfill personal mitzva obligations, such as buying oneself a pair of tefillin or tzitzis. Similarly, matanos levyonim kaparos should not come from maser money. This however would only the basic requirement of matanos levyonim and kaparos. If one wants to give extra tzedakah on Purim above the required amount, that may be taken from maaser money.

Best wishes

 

Sources:

M:B 605-6, 694-3.

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