Social Security Premium, Tax Returns, Withholding Tax

Merged “Withholding Tax” and “Social Security Premium” Returns

With the communiqué dated 18/02/2017, two separate returns (“Withholding Tax” and “Social Security Premium”) that are submitted to two separate authorities (“Revenue Administration” and “Social Security Institution”) including information about employees are decided to be merged.

This merge, requires an update in the electronic return submission system, therefore the regulation has initiated as pilot for taxpayers in Kırşehir as of 1/6/2017 and for taxpayers is Amasya, Bartın and Çankırı as of 1/1/2018. For all the remaining, the beginning date was set as 1/7/2018 but this date was updated to 1/10/2018 and then to 1/7/2019. Finally, it is again set to 1/1/2020 for all remainin taxpayers.

Indirect Taxes, Mobile Phones Registration Fee

Registration fee collected on mobile phones brought by travellers

Other than commercial imports, people who travel abroad and return to Turkey can bring mobile phones for their personal use together with them. These mobile phones shall be registered in Turkey by these travellers to activate the phones’ usage in Turkey. Previously, the registration fee was 618,60 TL.

With the Presidential Decree No. 1314 published in the Official Gazette dated 19/7/2019 no 30836, the registration fee collected for the mobile phones brought from abroad together with travellers was increased to 1500 TL.

This amendment enters into force on 20 July 2019, as it is the date following the publication of the Decision.

Customs, Indirect Taxes

Tax Exemption on Fast Cargo Imports has been Removed

With the decision dated 15.05.2019, an amendment has been made on the general decision that regulate the application of Customs Law. With this amendment, the customs tax exemption provided for personal goods that do not have any commercial purpose brought by fast cargo deliveries under the value of 22 EUR limit, has been removed.

The exemption that was provided in the same article for books and similar print materials brought by fast cargo deliveries that value under 150 EUR remains the same.

Accordingly, goods brought by fast cargo deliveries under the value of 22 EUR will be subject to taxation same with the ones that value under 1.500 EUR. The rates are;

  • 18% for the goods brought from EU countries,
  • 20% for the goods brought from other destinations,
  • 0% for books and similar print materials,
  • Additional 20% on the above if the goods are subject to Special Consumption Tax (Excise Duty)
Excise Duty, Excise Tax, Special Consumption Tax (SCT)

Excise Duty (SCT) Adjustment on Fuel Products

Recent currency fluctuations in Turkish Lira required authorities to take some urgent actions to moderate its effect on the local market. One of these regulations was the Cabinet Decree dated May 14, 2018 no. 2018/11818 that allowed Excise Duty (Special Consumption Tax [SCT]) amount of certain fuel products to be rearranged in line with the f/x changes to stabilize the price of fuels in the market.

In principle, the decree allowed Ministry of Finance to rearrange Excise Duty on Gasoil, Diesel and LPG products and their variances when the Turkish Lira currency is devalued over other currencies. With the power of this decree, several decisions were taken by the ministry and published on its website that reduced (and increased afterwards when recovery realised) these amounts.

Now it seems that SCT amounts of Gasoil products (95 and 98 Octane) has returned to values before the decree was published but not yet for Diesel and LPG. Below is a graph that indicates the Excise Duty amount changes between the days before the decree and today.


If you have further queries on this issue, please feel free to contact us.


Turkey to bring 25% Customs Duty on Steel imports

On October 2, 2018 a new presidential decree has been published regarding the implementation of a protection measure on steel imports to Turkey.

According to decree, Turkey still investigates whether the global developments on steel tariffs may have a probable impact of serious harm on the local steel industry. The decree states that during the investigation period (for 200 days) %25 of the import value will be collected as a guarantee payment on these imports and if at the end of the investigation, it is decided to collect the exact rate; collected guarantees will be converted to revenue. If the investigation results with a lower rate or deciding not to implement a tariff, collected guarantees will be refunded.

On the other hand, a tariff quota is defined per product type (hs code) and per country that will not be taxed on import. Accordingly, the imports exceeding this tariff quota will be subject to tax. A communique has been published on 16th of October about the distribution of this quota. The communique states that the quota amount will be used in a “first come first serve” principle which means early imports will be considered in the quota limits but when the total imported product per HS code or per country reaches the defined limit, later imports will be subject to tax.

Excise Duty, Excise Tax, Special Consumption Tax (SCT)

Change in Tobacco Excise Duty

Tobacco products are listed in list 3-B of Excise Duty law (also known as Special Consumption Tax – SCT). In general, excise duty of tobacco products is calculated with the combination of “ad-valorem rate”, “fixed tax” and “minimum fixed tax”.

With a recent Decision of Council of Ministers published on official gazette dated 30/06/2018, some tobacco products’ ad-valorem rate is reduced to 63% (previously was 65,25%), fixed and minimum fixed tax amount is raised between 0,0096 and 0,095 TL. With this change, it is not expected to see a difference on the retail prices of most packed cigarettes. But, only low price cigarettes retail price may increase due to increase in minimum fixed tax amounts.

If you have further queries on this issue, please feel free to contact us.

Excise Change Tobacco

Digital Services VAT, VAT

Digital Services VAT Communiqué has been Published

January 31, 2017

Final version of the Communiqué has been published on the Official Gazette on 31th of January.

Important Updates

  1. New version of the communiqué allows (full or proportional) deduction of VAT on purchases directly related with the supplied digital service.
  2. Due to transition period, VAT declarations of January, February and March 2018 will be submitted between April 1 to 24th.
  3. Detailed explanation of services in the scope has been removed. So all digitally supplied services to non-taxpayer real persons in Turkey is considered in the scope.


In the draft version of the communiqué electronically supplied services were explained with below articles;

  1. Webpage operations related services (domain, hosting, and all other related services)
  2. Software and hardware distant maintenance, distant system management and online data storage services
  3. Sales of all kinds of softwares and digital products (firewalls, device drivers, antivirus softwares etc.) including access to them, download and update.
  4. Any kind of digital content providing services (e.g. financial/legal content service, online newspaper and publishings, blogs, web statistics services, search engine and indexing services etc.).
  5. All kind of service provided through applications or similar tools on computer or mobile devices such as online/offline game memberships, app download, music service provider app memberships, on-line broadcasting services etc.
  6. Distant education services with limited human involvement
  7. Radio and Television broadcast services,
  8. Other services that is similar to above and supplied through all electronic digital means.

In the published version, above service explanations have been removed. Therefore all digital services supplied to non-taxpayer real persons should be considered in the scope.

Platform Operator’s Responsibility

One of the most important explanation in the communiqué is that platform operators held responsible of the payment of Turkish digital service VAT in case the original service provider is explicitly disclosed on the platform or on the service engagement or on the billing information of the service. Continue reading “Digital Services VAT Communiqué has been Published”