Turkey: VAT Liability For Electronically Supplied Services In Turkey

Last Updated: 17 January 2018
Article by Selen Ugur and Duhan Kurt

Introduction

The Draft Communiqué Regarding Amending VAT Application Communiqué (Serial No 17) (hereinafter referred to as the "Communiqué") has been published in the Revenue Administration's Official Website for public opinion and suggestions in December 2017.

The Communiqué sets forth the VAT liabilities of the companies who do not have any residence, business centre or registered office within Turkey and provide services on electronic environment shall be subject to value-added tax in Turkey. 

Scope of the Communiqué

  • As per the Communiqué, those who do not have any residence, business centre or office in Turkey shall be subject to value-added tax for their services which are provided either to, real persons who are VAT payers or to anybody (regardless of their VAT payer status) except from real persons on electronic environment.

The Communiqué determines the general scope of electronically supplied services as follows:

  1. Radio and TV broadcasting services
  2. Telecommunication services (including VoIP, paging services, fax, videophone services)
  3. Web hosting services, online data warehousing, online maintenance of computer programs and equipment,
  4. Sales of digital goods, installation of website filtering software and firewall (including antivirus programs, device drivers, ad-block programs and all kinds of software supply (including downloading and accessing such software)
  5. Preparation of databases by way of providing image, text and information such as:

    • Online information generated automatically by software from specific data input by the customer (such as legal and financial data)
    • Services regarding sale of goods and services on platforms which bring potential buyers and sellers together or enable such buyers and sellers to carry out transactions on electronic environment (including placement of goods and services on websites with sale purposes) Internet service packages of information in which the telecommunications component forms an ancillary and subordinate part (including packages going beyond mere Internet access and including other elements such as content pages giving access to news, weather or travel reports; playgrounds; website hosting; access to online debates Services providing or supporting a business or personal presence on an electronic network such as a website or a webpage
    • Accessing or downloading photographic or pictorial images or screensavers
    • Accessing or downloading the digitised content of books and other electronic publications
    • Subscription to online newspapers and journals
    • Online news, traffic information and weather reports
    • Providing advertisement spaces including banner ads on web sites and pages
    • Use of search engines and internet directories
  6. Publications regarding music, movie, game (including games of chance, betting and gambling), art, sport, science and entertainment and other apps and in-app purchases and which are provided to users via computer, mobile phone and similar tools such as:

    • Accessing or downloading music, sound or movie,
    • Accessing or downloading games, services provided for remote game streaming, and in-app purchases for games
    • Broadcasting services which are accessible via the internet or similar electronic network for listening to or viewing programmes at the moment chosen by the user and at the user's individual request on the basis of a catalogue of programmes selected by the media service provider on demand
    • Receiving radio or television programmes distributed via the internet or similar electronic network unless they are broadcast simultaneous to their being transmitted or retransmitted over a radio and television network
  7. Distance teaching services such as:

    • Automated distance teaching dependent on the Internet or similar electronic network to function and the supply of which requires limited or no human intervention, including virtual classrooms, except where the Internet or similar electronic network is used as a tool simply for communication between the teacher and student

Obligation to Provide Information

As per the Communiqué, banks, e-money and payment institutions in Turkey shall inform the Revenue Administration about the payments which are made to those who do not have any residence, business centre or office in Turkey and provide such services by customers once every three months.

VAT Obligation of Electronic Service Providers

Electronic service providers which are subject to this Communiqué shall declare VAT by establishing a "VAT Obligation Specific to Electronic Service Providers". In case the electronic service providers run transactions that falls within the scope of the Communiqué, the VAT in relation to these transactions shall be declared electronically via the "VAT Return Number 3".

Declaration and Payment

Electronic service providers which are subject to this Communiqué, shall declare VAT regarding the services provided on electronic environment to individuals who are not VAT payers in Turkish Liras and via the VAT declaration Number 3 as of the monthly taxation periods of a calendar year and until the afternoon of twenty fourth day of the month following the taxation period. No declaration for periods in which there has not been any transactions shall be submitted.

Non-fulfilment

Those who fail to comply with the Communiqué related to the declaration obligation for the services provided on electronic environment regulated under Article 9/1 of VAT Code and obligation to provide information regulated under Article 149 of Tax Procedure Code shall be subject to the tax penalties specified by Tax Procedure Code.

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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