Country Rankings - Turkey
Aug 02, 2017 Turkey: complexA new index on tax complexity around the world was published recently, courtesy of TMF Group, the international professional services firm. There were few surprises therein. The top-end of the index featured the usual rogues' gallery of fiendishly complicated tax systems, many of which were found in Latin America, where taxpayers often contend with three layers of taxation - federal, state/regional, and municipal. The only surprise perhaps was that Brazil, infamous for its tax complexity, as noted here last week, wasn't top of the overall league table. That unwanted accolade went to Turkey, mostly because of extensive local language and currency requirements, and a long and frequently changing tax code. In short, don't think about navigating the Turkish tax code without the services of a knowledgeable local guide, according to TMF. Istanbul is no longer Byzantium by name, but the nation's tax rules certainly seem Byzantine by nature. Normal order could be restored, however, when, according to TMF, Turkey reduces the number of articles in the tax code by 200 to 321 as it attempts to align tax processes with those of the European Union, which the country hopes to eventually join – at which point Brazil will probably be restored to the top of the table.
Jul 27, 2015 Turkey: refreshingReforming a country's tax code can often be an agonizing process. Often, it starts with the formation of a panel of experts or parliamentarians, charged with studying various options for reform. Then, the panel will publish a report detailing where the tax system is failing, and proposing ways in which it can be fixed. The report will then be submitted to parliament or the government, upon which the finance minister will laud the great work and dedication of the panel and its chairman. Within a week of this, it'll probably be forgotten about. Or, if a tax reform bill is eventually drawn up, it will be so divisive as to be virtually impossible to approve, with the result that it gets batted back and forth between lower and upper chambers, finance committees, and constitutional courts. Some members of the legislature with a particular interest in tax reform will try to keep the issue in the Government's consciousness, and the Government will be reminded on a regular basis by the IMF, the OECD, et al, not to forget about that tax reform bill it promised. But rarely does a country manage to make a clean sweep of its tax code. So, it was refreshing to read that Turkey is on the brink of making fairly seismic changes to its tax legislation, a process that so far has taken a relatively brisk two years. The draft tax code will merge the two separate laws for the taxation of corporate and individual income, and by all accounts will strip away many overlapping and confusing provisions, reducing the number of articles by 200 to about 320. Of course, one of the main aims is to bring more people into the tax net and widen the tax base - i.e. it will raise revenue – but it is also said that the changes will make Turkey a considerably easier place to do business, so it merits an encomium.
Nov 01, 2012 Turkey: is still growingTurkey doesn't figure in my rankings yet, despite being equal in size to the fourth biggest EU state, economically speaking, and a key business hub for large slabs of the Middle East, so this week's announcement that it won't be bringing in any significant changes to taxation this year is a good opportunity to bring it on board with a star. Like China (well, not very like China, because Turkey is at least a democracy) we have to overlook some negative factors like Turkey's treatment of the Kurds, the Cyprus problem, Islamist influences, the Armenian denial, absence of free speech etc etc. But when you compare Turkey to its neighbours Syria and Iran it is a beacon of rectitude, and it is more business-friendly than many other countries in the neighbourhood.