Turkey: New Electronic Address Requirements For Turkish Tax Payers

As a result of inevitable changes in technology and due to the ever expanding and limited time schedule of businessmen worldwide, a law was required to create solutions to shorten the distance between people. Certainly, one of them was enabling people to assist each other electronically when sending notices / notifications.

Only few years ago Turkey was also introduced to electronic notification by virtue of a provision added to the Turkish Code of Notification No. 7201 through the Law Nr. 6099. According to Article 7/a of the Turkish Code of Notification, any person requesting to be serviced  via an electronic address can be served  electronically provided that such address is available to send electronic notifications. As from 19th January 2013, it became mandatory for joint stock companies, limited companies, and partnerships limited by shares to be served electronically. If such electronic notification could not have been made for mandatory reasons, other procedures designated in the Turkish Code of Notification could be pursued to serve the related notification. Electronic notification is deemed to have been made by the end of the fifth day following delivery to the electronic address of the recipient.

In the event of non-compliance with Article 7/a of the Turkish Code of Notification, no penalty was applied, but according to the Electronic Notification Regulation, precautionary measures would be taken by the competent institution against those who do not comply with the mandatory electronic notification requirements. Such measures would only include an invitation of correspondents to obtain an electronic address for their notification address stored in MERSIS (Turkish central recording system), but no further penalty whatsoever were foreseen.

On the other hand, according to Article 9/A of Law No. 5549 on Prevention of Laundering Proceeds of Crime, the notifications to be drawn up under the implementation of this Law and Law No.6415 on Prevention of the Financing of Terrorism, may be notified electronically and response may be requested electronically notwithstanding the procedures relating to electronic notification established in Article 7/A of Electronic Notification Law No.7201. This type of notifications shall be deemed as notified when delivered to the other party. Relating to electronic notifications, MASAK (Turkish Financial Crimes Investigation Board) has the authority to construct all kind of technical infrastructure or to use the existing ones, to impose obligations to use electronic addresses suitable for notification and giving responses electronically, to determine the procedures and principles relating to ones to be notified electronically and electronic notifications. Persons, institutions and organizations who fail to comply with the obligations of the electronic notification specified in Article 9/A of the Law No. 5549 shall be punished with an administrative fine of TRY 10,000 by MASAK for each failure to comply. The total administrative fine applied in this regard in one year, cannot exceed TRY 250,000.

As it can be noticed, joint stock companies, limited companies, and partnerships divided by shares were only punished if they would fail to comply with the provisions of Law No. 5549. However, through the new communiqué introduced in the Tax Procedural Law General Communiqué Nr. 456 published in the Turkish Official Gazette of 27th of August 2015, the following persons have been obliged to obtain an electronic notification address since the Ministry of Finance has finalized its infrastructure for electronic notification:

a) Corporate Income Tax Payers;

b) Tax payers with respect to commercial, agricultural, and professional income (except for those whose income is determined on single entry and farmers who are not subject to tax and their income is not determined on single entry);

c) Those who request to be served electronically at their discretion.

Among the above mentioned persons, corporate income tax payers and individual income tax payers (who requested electronic notification,) have to obtain electronic communication addresses by 1th January 2016.

Non-compliance with the above mentioned newly introduced rules have been subjected to penalty according to Article 355 of the Turkish Tax Procedural Law as per Articles of 148 (Providing Information), 149 (Providing Continuous Information), and repeating Article 257 (Certain Authorities of the Ministry of Finance), which differentiates from TRY 300 to TRY 1,300. In order to implement this provision, however, the competent authority has to notify the related person first who does not comply with the aforementioned legal provisions. Such notification requirement would cease in the event the Ministry of Finance makes a general announcement in this respect. Publishing a general communiqué can be considered as fulfilment of the notification requirement. The penalties would be duplicated if the correspondents would fail to comply with requirements of the Tax Procedural Law General Communiqué No. 456.

As a result, those who fall under the scope of the Tax Procedural Law General Communiqué No. 456 are urged to obtain an electronic communication address before the New Year. Otherwise, it seems tax offices will impose penalties on those failing to comply with the new requirement.

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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