Introduction

This article examines the taxation of remote workers in Turkey. It is clear that working remotely in Turkey may be a very rewarding experience, but also may cause serious challenges. The complexity may arise from the fact that nationality of employees, employers and even corporate headquarters might be different. For instance a Chinese company based in Europe may employ French remote workers living in Turkey.

For the biggest troubles of working remotely see our article on "The Five Biggest Remote Work Challenges".

Can I be a digital nomad in Turkey?

There seems to be no obstacle in working remotely in Turkey. You can work as a foreign freelancer or as a worker for a foreign company. In the second case, the employer company is situated outside of the country.

Do I need a work permit to work remotely in Turkey?

Pursuant to Article 6 of the Law on International Workforce (No:6735), 'foreigners who are within the scope of this Law are forbidden to work or be employed without obtaining a work permit'. Hence, a foreign teleworker should provide a work permit from the relevant Turkish authorities. There is only one exception of this norm under the same provision. Foreigners having an exemption from work permit under national or international instruments.

The Law on International Workforce (No:6735) is available online here (in Turkish).

Work Permit and Residence Permit are the same thing?

Under Article 12 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection Law (No:6458), "work permit" or "work permit exemption" granted under this Law shall be deemed as "residence permit". Accordingly, a work permit implies a residence permit owing to this approach.

The Law in question is available online here (in Turkish).

What about taxation of remote workers in Turkey?

It is useful to note that the Turkish taxation system is based on residency. Taxation rules dramatically change if the relevant natural or legal person has a permanent residence in Turkey.

Our comprehensive article on changeable taxation rules about foreign rental income (in Turkish) is available online here.

In accordance with the Law on Income Tax, those settled in Turkey are taxed on their earnings generated in or outside Turkey. Those residing in Turkey and those who spend more than six months within a calendar year are regarded as "settled in Turkey".

Full text of the Law on Income Tax(No:193) is available (in Turkish) online here.

Conclusion

As a consequence, if you wish to work remotely, please follow up a "better safe than sorry" strategy. On-the-ground, legal consultation may play a vital role in understanding and carrying out relevant legal commitments dedicated to remote working. Otherwise you may face serious challenges because of potential legal disputes on the way forward. Criminal or administrative investigations, tax examinations or even follow-up cases may be very disturbing results of working remotely.

So, do you pay tax for remote jobs?

To sum up,work from home requires a work permit for foreigners. However, a work permit also means a residence permit. That requires the application of taxation norms. Even if you do not have a work permit but you stay in Turkey more than 6 months, again taxation duties are applicable for you.

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.