All Turkish taxes are imposed under laws drafted by or with the involvement of the Turkish MoF and are promulgated by the Turkish Parliament. The central government, acting through the MoF, imposes most of them, although local authorities have certain rights over some minor transaction charges. Tax procedures are governed by the Turkish tax procedural law.
The taxable period is the calendar year. Note that a different fiscal year is also allowed.
A self-assessment system is used in Turkey.
In principle, residents and non-resident entities having a PE in Turkey are obligated to be registered for all taxes in Turkey (e.g. CIT, VAT, WHT, stamp tax) and file annual CIT returns.
The last date of submission of the CIT return is the 30th day of the fourth month following the fiscal year end. This date will be 30 April if CIT returns are filed on a calendar-year basis. However, due to Covid-19 outbreak, the deadline of CIT tax return is postponed to June 1st, 2020.
Payment of tax
Taxable income is declared on a quarterly-basis as advance tax on the 17th day of the second month following each quarter, and corresponding tax is payable on the 17th day of the same period. Advance CIT paid is offset against the final (i.e. fiscal year-end) CIT calculated in the annual CIT return.
The last date of payment of CIT is the 30th day of the fourth month following the fiscal year-end. However, again due to Covid-19 outbreak, the deadline for paying the due taxes on these returns are postponed.
Tax audit process
The tax authorities in Turkey do not have a regular audit cycle for every taxpayer. Tax audits are usually performed based on selection through risk assessment software, where they can conduct either sector-specific or issue-specific audits.
Statute of limitations
The Turkish tax system is based on self-assessment, and there is no procedure to agree the filed tax returns with the tax authorities that can prevent further inspections. Tax returns filed by companies remain open to tax inspection until the end of the five-year statute of limitations according to the provisions of Turkish Tax Procedural Law.
Topics of focus for tax authority
The tax authority has recently inspected companies for the following topics:
- Transfer pricing.
- Capital decrease.
- Loss compensation fund.
- Partial spin-off.
- Thin capitalisation.
Corporate income tax certification
In Turkey, a special kind of tax control mechanism is established called 'corporate income tax certification'. Under this mechanism, the tax authority accepts accounts and tax returns of taxpayers whose accounts are audited and certified by Sworn Fiscal Advisors (SFAs) to be true and correct unless proved to be incorrect. On the other hand, the MoF has announced that those companies that do not have their tax returns certified as such will be on the priority list for tax inspection. The Ministry sets standards of work to be done for any taxpayer wanting to use an SFA. At the end of each year, SFAs have to prepare a comprehensive report to be submitted to the MoF and to certify the accuracy of the CIT return.
The work is carried out over the statutory financials that are subject to tax calculations. Note that this service is not of a 'statutory audit' nature, technically it is 'non-audit assurance' work.
The tax certification process helps to identify and take corrective measures against erroneous applications that may otherwise be detected only upon a tax investigation by the Turkish MoF.