31 bln TL e-trade set to be taxed

31 bln TL e-trade set to be taxed

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
31 bln TL e-trade set to be taxed

The online trade volume only via local bank cards was worth 31 billion Turkish Liras in 2012 and it has appeared sellers have evaded taxes in most of these transactions according to report prepared by Turkish Finance Ministry. AP photo

Turkey’s Tax Inspection Board (VDK), a subsidiary of the Ministry of Finance, has completed the first phase of its e-commerce regulation, preparing a report that aims to constitute a roadmap to prevent tax evasion in this sector.

The work to find and prevent tax evasion in the e-commerce sector that began six months ago with the directives of Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has completed its first stage. The VDK prepared a detailed report that determined the possible causes of tax evasion in e-commerce. Regarding this report, the current legislation will be revised and solutions will be developed in line with tax legislation.

The report says the online trade volume only via local bank cards was worth 20 billion Turkish Liras in 2011. The report reveals that e-commerce has become a way for taxpayers to evade taxes, and the surveillance of the sales remains weak. The taxpayers that use point of service (POS) machines imported from foreign banks are able to hide all their receipts. Also, if the payments are received via POS machines that belong to non-bank devices, the surveillance of the sales becomes more difficult.

The report noted that the receipts made via bank transfer, EFT or check also obstruct watching the gain in e-commerce as the accounts might be used for personal purposes. Taxpayers owning e-commerce websites that do not precisely state their trade title, address and communication details might harm the ones that use online shopping to pursue their orders in case of defective and/or undelivered goods, the report says.

“A deal-of-the-day website” that sells coupons evades taxes when customers do not use them. Also, online betting sites, except legal ones where people can play with cash, are another culprit of tax evasion as they are not included in taxed games of chance, the value-added-tax (KDV) or other indirect taxes.

Şimşek had recently stated that Turkey had cooperated with Holland, a country that has made significant progress in the surveillance of e-commerce and preventing the informal economy, in order to create a sustainable strategy for monitoring informal e-commerce activities. Turkey imported from Holland a tax surveillance system, Xenon, that determines e-commerce firms automatically and records their activities.

Online trade via bank cards was worth 31 billion Turkish Liras last year, as it is estimated to rise to 62 billion liras by 2015 and 316 billion liras by 2023, according to the E-commerce Enterprises Association (ETİD).