Unakıtan promises tax reduction for artisans

Unakıtan promises tax reduction for artisans

Kemal Unakıtan

September 12, 2008, Friday/ 20:06:00/ İBRAHİM TÜRKMEN
Minister of Finance Kemal Unakıtan has announced that the government is preparing for a reduction in tax rates for small companies, most of which are artisan and craftsman enterprises, in a move aimed at easing their burden and encouraging tax evaders to enter the system.Speaking at a fast-breaking dinner organized by the Marmara Business Life Associations Federation (MARİFED) and the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) in İstanbul yesterday, the minister said, "We will see if they start paying their taxes or not." Emphasizing the importance of registering small businesses into the tax system and ending tax avoidance for the sake of a better life for the coming generations, the minister said the salvation of the country is not possible without bringing economic activities fully into the registered sphere. Still, he warned that if the number of small registered companies doesn't' increase following the tax rate cut, he would take some other measures that would end up creating a "tougher situation" for these companies.

The minister also tried to persuade companies to pay their taxes in full and on time, quoting research findings that show that a fully registered company is six times more productive than a company that intentionally dodges taxes. He said a new set of rules governing loans would be introduced shortly, making it almost impossible for a company that doesn't pay taxes regularly to get a loan from a bank.

The minister also touched on the "poor growth rate of gross domestic product [GDP] in the second quarter" that was announced by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) on Wednesday. The GDP growth rate took a dive, coming in at just 1.9 percent, signaling that a recession might be next. Blaming the political ambiguities stemming from a closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) that was opened in March and lasted nearly 5 months until the Constitutional Court decided against closing down the popularly elected party, the minister spoke optimistically about third-quarter projections. "God willing, we will bring the economy's performance to a better place in the third quarter and will end the year on a very positive note," he said.

Unakıtan also mentioned global turbulence caused by three major crises: a financial crisis triggered by US subprime mortgages, skyrocketing energy prices and soaring food prices. "This combination of three disasters shaking the world at the same time is totally unprecedented, and it is a big success for Turkey to pass through it without sustaining much damage," the minister stressed.

AK Party Manisa deputy and former Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç was also present at the event, which was attended by nearly 1,500 businessmen. He said national peace and stability are of vital importance for success in business and that, therefore, everyone must act responsibly to lower political tensions.

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