Notable developments: Communiqué on the implementation of digital services tax entered into force
A digital services tax entered into force in Turkey on March 1, 2020. Pursuant to the Law No. 7194 on Digital Services Tax and Amendment to Certain Laws and Law Decree No. 375 (the “Law”) promulgated in December 2019, the Communiqué on the Implementation of Digital Services Tax (the “Communiqué”) was published on March 20, 2020, in the Official Gazette and entered into force retroactive to March 1, 2020.
The Communiqué provides detailed explanations regarding the implementation of the digital services tax, notably in relation to the taxpayer (vergi mükellefi), declarations, payments, deductions and tax security measures (vergi güvenliği). The Communiqué further sets out various scenarios to clarify the scope of digital services subject to the tax and exceptions thereof, and provides examples regarding tax base (vergi matrahı) calculations.
Key points to take away from the Communiqué include, without limitation, the following:
- Digital services tax obligation is independent from income or corporate tax obligations. Digital services providers without registered offices in Turkey can be subject to the digital services tax.
- If digital services provider does not have residence or place of business or registered office in Turkey, or in other cases as deemed necessary, the Ministry of Treasury and Finance (the “Ministry”) can hold parties to the taxable services and/or intermediaries to such transactions and payments liable for tax payment to ensure collection of the digital services tax.
- Digital services taxation period is monthly. The Ministry is authorized to establish quarterly taxation periods depending on the type and volume of taxable digital services rendered by the digital services provider.
- Digital services tax declarations must be submitted online via www.digitalservice.gib.gov.tr.
- Digital services tax paid by digital services providers can be deducted as expense in the calculation of net profit (safi kazanç) in relation to income or corporate tax calculations.
- Because digital services cannot be returned once provided and the digital services tax is taxed on generated revenue, digital services tax cannot be corrected or refunded.
- Tax offices will notify digital services providers or their authorized representatives in Turkey in case of failure to duly declare or pay digital services tax. Announcements relating to failure to declare/pay will also be posted on the Revenue Administration’s website. Digital services providers have 30 days to rectify the oversight following such announcement. Failing to timely correct the situation may result in access to the digital services of such providers being blocked per instructions of the Ministry and the Information Technologies and Communications Authority.