The Law on Restructuring and Tax Base Increase Has Been Published

Introduction

Law No. 7326 (“Law”) regarding the Restructuring of Certain Receivables and Amending Certain Laws has entered into force following its publication in the Official Gazette on 9 June 2021. You can read the Law here. (Available in Turkish only).

The Law, which deals with the restructuring of public receivables, anticipates the postponement of certain public obligations to reduce the economic turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the burden faced by taxpayers.

Additionally, with the stock amnesty that has been expected by the public for a long time in particular, it aims to improve company balance sheets and increase business stability.

There have previously been similar attempts to restructure tax and public debts but for the first time with Law No. 7326, the tax base increase as well as debts currently in dispute or subject to investigation have been included in the scope, which offers the possibility of remuneration for operating losses.

The Tax Base Increase

The regulation on the tax base increase, which has long been expected by the public, gives taxpayers the opportunity to pay their taxes without encountering tax penalties and delay interest.

In addition, tax examinations and assessments will not be carried out for payments made within the scope of the tax base increase.  The law provides the possibility of increasing the tax base for certain periods and certain types of taxes.

The law regulates that tax or the tax base increase can be requested for corporate and income tax for the period between 2013-2016. In addition, this advantage is granted to certain types of income, corporate tax withholdings and value-added tax between 2013-2017.

The tax base increase, defined as “tax insurance”, has great significance for taxpayers as it provides guarantees that no examinations will be made for the relevant payment period. However, tax inspections that were not completed before the Law’s publication in the Official Gazette will continue.

Therefore, those currently under investigation will have to increase the tax base before the inspection report is submitted to the tax office. Nevertheless, for the tax, penalty, and default interest to be levied after completion (even if the end of the examination varies), the Law provides the opportunity to benefit from the tax base increase for those who make a written application within 20 days of the notification.

It should also be noted that if the revised debt is not paid in accordance with the payment schedule, default interest will be applied, and taxpayers will not be able to benefit from the tax increase. Therefore, those who increase their tax base must comply strictly with payment plans.

The Law also specifies persons who cannot benefit from the tax base increase opportunity. Persons who have destroyed or replaced their books, records, and documents, or who have forged documents completely or partially, or who have been under investigation in regard to these breaches are stated among those who cannot benefit from the tax base increase.

Furthermore, individuals who have been convicted of terrorism or are alleged to be a member of, or to have had contact with, terrorist organizations determined by the National Security Council to act against national security, cannot benefit from the tax assessment and tax base increase.

Restructuring

Tax debts from the period up to 30 April 2021 are included within the scope of restructuring of finalized debts. In terms of declaration-based tax, the taxes and tax penalties related to declarations that must be submitted by 30 April 2021 and related receivables, such as delay interest and delay increases are evaluated within the scope of restructuring and therefore, income and corporate taxes for 2020 are included within the scope.

In order to file a restructuring application for debts that are within the scope of the period, they must be finalized as of the date of the publication of the Law and must be unpaid or not yet overdue.

In terms of restructured debts, all of the finalized principal debts will be collected but individual public receivables such as default interest, delay increase and tax loss penalties will be deleted.

Instead of deleted default interest, delay increase and tax loss penalties, the Domestic Producer Price Index will be calculated on the basis of monthly change rates and the relevant amount will be paid until the enactment of the Law. For tax penalties not linked to the original debt (irregularity and special irregularity penalties) and tax penalties imposed due to participation, half of the penalties will be written off, while the other half must be paid.

Restructuring Requests and Payment

Taxpayers who would like to benefit from restructuring should apply to the relevant administration before 31 August 2021. The first instalment of the restructured debts should be paid to the Ministry of Treasury and Finance, the Ministry of Trade, special provincial administrations, municipalities, and Investment Monitoring and Coordination Presidencies by 30 September 2021. The first instalment of restructured amounts paid to the Social Security Institution and its subsidiaries must be paid by 31 October 2021 and all further instalments must be paid in bi-monthly instalments up to a maximum of 18 equal payments.

The calculated amounts can be paid in cash or in instalments. If the entire calculated amount is paid in advance within the first two instalments, the coefficient is not applied and discounts at different rates will be calculated based on the Domestic Producer Price Index monthly rate of change.

However, instalment payments will be multiplied by 1.09 for six instalments, 1.135 for nine instalments, 1.18 for twelve instalments, and 1.27 for eighteen instalments. The calculated amount is divided by the number of instalments and collected monthly.

Correction of Business Records

In the light of these opportunities, corrections may be made for commodities, machinery, equipment and fixtures that are not included in a company’s records, but are present at the enterprise.

In other words, machinery, equipment, and fixtures that have been purchased without an invoice and have not been included in the accounting records, although they are actually present in the enterprise, can be documented in business records.

To register these commodities, machinery, equipment, and fixtures, VAT will be calculated on the basis of half of the rate of their current value. The amount should be declared separately and should be paid until the end of declaration period. The tax paid on machinery, equipment, and fixtures cannot be deducted from the calculated value-added tax, but the tax paid on commodities will be deducted according to general tax principles.

In addition, commodities, machinery, equipment, and fixtures that are not present at a business, although they are included in its records, may be transferred to records and declarations, provided that invoices are issued, and all tax liabilities are fulfilled.

The possibility of correcting business records provided the Law, means that the cash balance and receivables from partners that are not in the business, although they are included in the records, can also be corrected.

In this scope, corporate taxpayers who keep books on the basis of a balance sheet will be able to correct their records by making declarations to tax offices until 31 August 2021. Cash holdings seen in balance sheets but not available in businesses and company receivables owed by partners, due to operations beyond the main field of activity, can be corrected within this scope. Accordingly, the tax, which will be calculated at a rate of 5% over the declared amounts, should be paid within the period of submitting the declaration.

The Ministry of Treasury and Finance will be authorized to make changes in the payment periods of taxes to be paid during the year, to impose notification obligations, and to determine other procedures and principles regarding the correction of business records.

Registration Amnesty

The Law also stipulates a registration amnesty for real and legal persons who have postponed their payments for the principal, interest or individual of their cash and non-cash loans, whose principal or instalment payment date is before 20 May 2021.

With the Law, records kept by the Banks Association of Turkey Risk Centre regarding uncashed checks, disputed bills, credit cards and other loan debts of real persons and credit customers who do or do not have commercial activities will not be evaluated in cases of payment or restructuring of debts.

The payment or restructuring of debts must be made by 31 December 2021. Previous credit records kept by credit institutions and financial institutions will not be considered in financial transactions of persons benefiting from this opportunity. In addition, in regard to credit institutions and financial institutions, restructuring existing loans or making new loans with those real or legal persons will not constitute legal or criminal liability.

Conclusion

The Law which introduces a number of benefits and amnesties in different forms has been in force as of 9 June 2021. The Law intends to prevent economic uncertainties caused by the pandemic and to present a more reasonable taxation policy to citizens by offering various improvements to taxpayers.

With the new restructuring mechanisms introduced by the Law, taxpayers will have the opportunity to pay their taxes without being exposed to both tax penalties and additional delay interest.

The tax base increase ensures tax payments are collected and assures taxpayers that they are exempt from tax inspections and investigations for the respective payment period. The Law regulates issues such as restructuring, correction of business records, stock, and registry amnesty, with a view to having a more convenient and transparent taxation process that increases the ease with which tax is collected.