Online shopping giants eye investment opportunities in Turkey and talks were initially held with Alibaba, eBay and Amazon in this regard. Minister of Finance Naci Ağbal said many global e-commerce sites are also in line for Turkey.
Speaking to a group of journalists, Ağbal recalled that they have made important regulations over the last two years regarding the taxation of e-commerce.
"If an e-commerce business makes money in Turkey, we specified very clearly in our legislation that it will pay a profit tax in any state and case," the finance minister said. "We have regulated the principles of implementation both in terms of both income and corporate tax and value added tax."
Ağbal said that they have made some amendments in the Tax Procedural Law regarding the monitoring of e-commerce and that they are authorized to collect and evaluate the information within the framework of these provisions.
Meanwhile, Turkey's e-commerce market size rose from TL 30.8 billion ($6.5 billion) in 2016 to TL 42.2 billion in 2017, an increase of 37 percent.
Announcing the establishment of a risk analysis center, he said this center would be the main driving force for voluntary taxation compliance and that they will take steps to monitor e-commerce.
Ağbal said that they would soon change the definition of "workplace." "If you set up direct contact with customers here through servers abroad, we will regard it as ‘workplace' in Turkey," he added.
He stressed that the steps to be taken will not harm e-commerce, recalling that after the aforementioned regulations, three global shopping giants came to Turkey and met him.
"Now they ask for appointments with me, and they get in line. A few weeks ago, I saw three global companies in a row," Ağbal said. It was later reported that Minister Ağbal met with Alibaba, eBay and Amazon.
Pointing to the companies' demands, Ağbal said they were asked to simplify tax procedures, listing some demands as the declaration in the electronic environment, establishment of billing systems and payment systems in an electronic environment, a single tax office in Istanbul responsible for tax liability and filling in these gaps in tax legislation. "Infrastructure was established for companies that sell services to Turkey from abroad to be obliged to a tax office in Turkey and to pay the taxes they should pay themselves, not consumers," Ağbal added. "We want those making money in Turkey to pay taxes in Turkey, and we created a legal framework in this regard. At this moment, we are pleased to see global companies come and say ‘Yes, we also want to pay our taxes' now."
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