Turkey's battle against tax havens

Published July 8th, 2013 - 09:42 GMT
Flag of Turkey (Source: Wikimedia)
Flag of Turkey (Source: Wikimedia)

By Charlotte Mcpherson

Outrageous! Daylight robbery! Usually these are the two most common words shouted when the subject of tax comes up in conversation.

World leaders have been cracking down on secretive financial centers by announcing measures to force tax haven jurisdictions to clean up their act by agreeing to universal tax standards as laid down in recent years by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Turkey has been taking steps to tighten the vise on tax evaders. More recently, along with many other nations, Turkey is working hard to set in place new strict laws to reduce the problems of money laundering and informal economy.

Investopedia estimates the size of the problem globally is over $500 billion annually. While traveling around the United States I found that it was common to meet people who did not realize that money laundering is not a victimless crime. It is a very serious issue that enables international organized crime to function. It usually is closely associated with large amounts of money obtained from serious crimes, such as human and/or drug trafficking or terrorist activity.

Let me just share a couple of points foreigners needs to be aware of with regards to tax rules:

The first point is that the Turkish Parliament is in the process of considering a draft code on income tax that has recently been submitted to Parliament which would require foreigners who have been working in Turkey for over three years to pay income tax to Turkey for their earnings.

The second one is if you are an American citizen living overseas you should be aware of the fact that in the past year US citizens with foreign bank accounts or with signature authority over foreign bank accounts are expected to report to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Basically the rule is: If at any time in 2012 the value of all of your foreign accounts exceeded $10,000 in value, then you are required to fill in a bunch of detailed forms and file them with the US Treasury. Starting last year the forms could be filed online or mailed. Apparently next year online filing will be required.

It is another step in the US government's effort to control money laundering. The penalties for failing to file can be pretty severe, so it's worth understanding this. If you are American and own a business, bought a car or sign for a foundation, association, church or charity accounts, the odds are you will need to file.

Nowadays, conducting business and living abroad can be more complicated than it used to be with residence and work legal status and other requirements. Because of global current events laws and requirements can change quickly. Don't be caught off-guard and be faced with penalties and fines.

All business enterprises in Turkey must have an accounting system adapted to the needs of the business in accordance with Turkish accounting standards.

For foreigners who do not understand Turkish and who would like to be informed on Turkish laws and requirements, here are some websites to help you stay informed, more specifically, on the tax system in Turkey and business development and capital formation in Turkey:






Some of you may be familiar with Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who said, “The income tax created more criminals than any other single act of government.” This is a universal problem.

The last link, gencomintl.com is for an informative talk show “Our Global Hope,” which covers a wide range of current global issues such as leadership, business development, capital formation and more around the world. Our Global Hope with host Dr. Henrik Mann offers guests and listeners an opportunity to find their voice on what makes for great leadership with integrity. Mann explores with his guests both how and why leaders in America and around the world are taking action to promote a new triple bottom line -- for people, profit and the welfare of our planet. You'll find his thoughtful conversations about leadership stories and a broad scope of issues in the worlds of business, politics, non-profits, international development, environment, media and religion informative and helpful. Tuning into this talk show is a great way to develop your listening skills if you are studying English as a second language.

“People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women.” Anonymous.

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