Customs duties can be examined within the scope of two types of
taxes which are expenditure tax and excise (Indirect) tax. Customs
duty can be described as an expenditure tax. Expenditure taxes are
for the services and goods produced sold or consumed. Customs
duties are type of excise (indirect) tax as well because taxpayers
reflect custom duties to consumer by including the tax into the
prices of the goods to be sold. Taxable event, time and who to bear
are not certain.
Immovable properties and services are not subject to custom
duties. Subjects of the custom duties are movable properties which
cross the borders of the country and the properties which are
subject to international trade.
2. Customs Liability
Customs duties are calculated by the custom tariff which is
valid at the starting date of customs liability. Import tax amount
is calculated as of the date of the starting of the customs duty
regarding those goods and other factors of taxation.
Under Turkish Tax Legislation, customs duty for import tax
starts as of the registry date of bill of entry for the goods that
are imported or beginning of free circulation of the imported
goods. Here, declarant will be the taxpayer.
In case the goods are exported from Turkish Customs Territory,
customs liability occurs. Customs liability starts as of the
registry date of bill of entry.
In case of importation, taxpayer is declarant of the bill of
entry. However, customs regime rights and liabilities may be
transferred under defined conditions of law. "Regime Right
Holder" or "Right Holder" mean the person acting on
its own behalf and own account or the person who is transferee of
these rights and liabilities. In circumstances of more than one
taxpayer who are liable for the same customs duty, all taxpayers
shall be jointly and severally liable for tax under Turkish
If taxpayer can prove that he could not fulfill his tax
obligation due to force majeure, goods specifications, hardship or
official permission; customs duty will not occur in importation. In
addition, in case of illegal importation, the persons who import
goods illegally, and who abet in illegal importation and who know
this illegality or persons who need-to-know and store goods
temporarily and others who are obligated to perform the customs
duty shall be responsible for customs duty under Turkish Tax
4. Legal Disputes
Anti-smuggling and customs law regulate the penalties in the
situation of illegal import and exports. The followings are the
possible penalties which can be imposed by Turkish Authorities:
Tax loss depending on mistake in bill of entry
Tax loss depending on breach in temporary admission
1% of CIF amount as a penalty
And other penalties pursuant to Anti Smuggling Law
Administrative sanction decisions are taken by customs chief or
vice-chiefs. Irregularity penalties must be determined and
calculated with customs taxes and notified to taxpayer as soon as
possible with the ultimate tax amounts.
5. Dispute Resolutions
The taxpayer can appeal against the notified written penalty,
customs duties and other administrative decisions in fifteen days
(15) as of the date of notification. The appeals can be submitted
to higher authority, if there is no higher authority, appeals can
be submitted to the authority which has given the penalty or tax
decision. In addition, appeal submitted to authorities must be
concluded in thirty (30) days and notified to taxpayer. In case of
rejection of appeal, taxpayers can appeal to administrative courts
against the rejection of appeal of administrative authorities.
After the submission of appeals to administrative courts (tax
courts), taxpayers do not have to pay the taxes or penalties until
the court decision. If the decision is not satisfactory enough for
the parties, they can appeal against tax court decision to Council
of State (Danıştay). Time for appeal is thirty days (30)
after the notification of the reasoned decision of the courts.
Administration of customs can reconcile with taxpayers in some
certain circumstances in regard to notified document which includes
the difference between bill of entry and examination result of
administration of customs and penalties foreseen in the Customs
Law. Reconciliation request must be submitted in fifteen days (15)
as of notification date, before the appeal against the
administration of customs decision.
After a reconciliation request, appeal and term of litigation
stay unless reconciliation request comes out well, duration resumes
on. After these stages taxpayers cannot submit another
reconciliation request to administration of customs.
On the other hand, after a positive reconciliation, a minute
must be signed by both parties. Parties cannot appeal the minute
after the signature.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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