Edition 64: 12 April 2018
Editorial Team:
Orçun Çetinkaya, LL.M., Ezgi Baklacı, LL.M., and Pelin Oğuzer, LL.M.
Turkey Announces Further Details About Online Portal for Taxpayers

Turkey’s Revenue Administration recently published rules for the “Interactive Tax Office” (“Online System”), which allows taxpayers to now conduct a range of tasks and transactions via an online platform, rather than at a physical tax office. Electronic transactions via the Online System will have the same legal effect as paper-based transactions, conducted at physical offices.

General Communiqué 492 on Tax Procedure Law (“Communiqué”) was published in Official Gazette number 30346 on 28 February 2018.

The Communiqué outlines issues such as:

– Obtaining passwords.

– Requesting and monitoring documents.

– Carrying out taxpayer proceedings via the Online System.

The Online System will allow taxpayers to access information about:

– ID and contact details.

– Tax obligations.

– Motor vehicle details.

– Tax debts.

– Notices and statements provided via the Online System, as well as accruals relating to these statements.

– Tax deposit accounts.

– Electronic inspections.

– Attachments levied against bank accounts and vehicles.

– Documents notified through the electronic notification system.

– Tax demands and penalties.

– Answers to questions sent via the Online System.

Taxpayers will be able to undertake the following transactions and proceedings via the Online System:

– Tax payment.

– Apply to join the electronic notification system.

– Request reductions in tax loss and irregularity penalties

– Obtain a tax obligation status document.

– Obtain a tax debt status document.

– Request special notice of tax status.

– Post notifications about starting a business.

– Post notifications about address changes.

– Post notifications about the number of workplaces.

– Request suspension of public receivables.

– Request changes to the taxation type and period.

– Post notifications about tax statements.

– Submit general petitions regarding transactions and proceedings, besides those mentioned above.

– Other transactions and proceedings approved by the Revenue Administration.

Please see this link for the full text of the Communiqué (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Announces Scheme Allowing Free Land Allocation Within Organized Industrial Zones, in Return for Employment Commitments

The entrepreneur committee or general assembly of Organized Industrial Zones (“Zone”) in Turkey can now allocate parcels of land free of charge, in return for minimum employment commitments from the recipient. Details have been announced for application procedures, determining priorities between applications, investment terms, parcel cost deductions, as well as title deed transactions.

The Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology published the Regulation Regarding Gratis Parcel Allocation for Organized Industrial Zones (“Regulation”) in Official Gazette number 30327 on 9 February 2018.

Applicants are expected to meet certain requirements and make commitments to the effect that their investment levels are sufficient to foresee employing at least ten staff.

The minimum number of employees depends on the parcel’s size:

The Regulation outlines rules for calculating the costs for allocated parcels, as well as determining deductions. If a Zone receives a credit from the Ministry, the costs of allocated parcels will be deducted from the Zone’s credit balance.

Each Zone’s board of directors will determine priority between applications, giving consideration to investment amounts, employment numbers, as well as export and hi-tech factors.

The parcel allocation will be terminated without a court decision if:

– The applicant breaches the Organized Industrial Zones Law, the Regulation, or the terms of the allocation agreement, or

– The applicant’s investment cannot be completed in the given term.

If a termination occurs, all facilities and structures established on the parcel will be transferred to the Zone without compensation. Neither the applicant nor a third party can submit any claim against the Zone following a termination.

Please see this link for the full text of the Regulation (only available in Turkish).

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Turkish Health Regulator Confirms That Advertising Ban Includes Contact Lenses

The Turkish Medicine and Medical Devices Agency (“Agency”) has confirmed that an existing advertising ban also includes contact lenses. Discussions had arisen about whether contact lenses were included in the ban. The Agency requested an opinion from the Social Security Institution (“Institution”) to clarify the issue.

The Regulation on Sale, Advertisement and Promotion of Medical Devices (“Regulation”) was published in Official Gazette number 29001 on 15 May 2014. The Regulation states that all direct or indirect advertisements (including shows, films, series, or news), in all media or public communication mediums (including the internet) are banned for medical devices which are reimbursed by the government.

However, discussions arose about whether contact lenses are subject to government reimbursement and therefore included in the ban.

At the Agency’s request, the Institution confirmed that contact lenses are in fact deemed to be medical devices, which are reimbursed by the government within the scope of the Institution’s Communique on Health Practice.

According to the Regulation, medical device sellers which breach the advertising ban will be warned for first offences. However, for second and subsequent offences, the medical device seller’s activities will be suspended for 15 days.

Please see this link for full text of the Agency’s announcement (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Ratifies Amendments to Common Transit Procedure Convention Into Law

Turkey’s Council of Ministers has now ratified a European convention to amend the Common Transit Procedure Convention (“Convention”). The recent decision ratifies decision number 1/2016 by the EU-EFTA Joint Committee on Common Transit dated 28 April 2016 into Turkish law, which generally aimed to modernize transit procedures and ensure smooth application of the Convention.

The Convention was signed between the European Economic Community countries, as well as Austria, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland in 1987.

Recent amendments to the Convention aim to ensure:

– Compliance with the European Union Parliament’s statutes and regulations, which introduced a modernized framework for customs procedures (including transit procedures).

– Compliance with European Union transit procedures to ensure smooth application of the Convention and enhance business between the Convention’s parties and the European Union.

– Clarify vague aspects of the Convention and update its terminology.

Please see this link for the full text of the ratified amendments to the Convention.

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Turkey Approves International Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Tobacco Trade

Turkey’s Council of Ministers has approved the international Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (“Protocol”). The Protocol outlines precautions for preventing and identifying illicit tobacco trade, as well as controlling supply chains, destroying related products/equipment and cooperation between signatory countries.

The Approval Decision for the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products was published in Official Gazette number 30372 on 26 March 2018. The Protocol will enter into effect 90 days after required documents are submitted to the UN’s General Secretary.

The Protocol requires parties to:

– Agree that supplementing the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (“Framework Convention”) via a comprehensive protocol would be a powerful and effective means of countering illicit tobacco trade (including hand-rolling tobaccos) and its grave consequences.

– Adopt effective measures to facilitate or obtain technical assistance and financial support for capacity building and international cooperation to achieve the Protocol’s objectives.

– Endeavour to license any real persons and/or companies unless prohibited by national law.

– Establish a global tracking and tracing regime accessible to all parties within five years of the Protocol coming into force, in order to secure the supply chain and assist during investigation of illicit tobacco trade.

– Cooperate with each other to share and develop best practices for tracking and tracing systems, as well as transferring and acquiring improved tracking and tracing technology.

– Within the scope of security and preventive measures, advise competent authorities about any:

– Cross-border cash transfers for amounts stipulated in national law.

– Cross-border payments in kind.

– Suspicious transactions.

– Destroy all confiscated tobacco products and manufacturing equipment, using environmentally friendly methods in accordance with national laws.

– Supporting other Protocol parties with mutual legal assistance to the largest extent possible during investigation, prosecution and all legal processes.

The Protocol also includes detailed regulations for extradition, judicial locations and dispute resolution.

Please see this link for full text of the Protocol and the approval decision (available both in Turkish and in English).

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