I remember the Turkish Ministry of Finance once explaining why gas stayed expensive in Turkey even when the barrel price went down. It simply said, “Even if the gas were coming out of your tap at home, the price would be around TL 3 per liter for the simple reason that it is a tax that we have to collect.”
Yes, the tax system of Turkey is usually based on indirect taxes, but this is killing the ability of Turkey to compete economically because making gas expensive simply makes everything more expensive. I really don’t know why the government does not take action to reduce gas prices and collect tax from income generated by production and sales.
I have an in-house question from Today’s Zaman, from Asif Sheikh, one of our interns at the İstanbul office. This is Asif’s e-mail: “I recently became interested in writing about the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) registration law after my experiences with it. I went to try to get my phone registered, only to be told that I could not register my phone at the airport office of Avea (my wireless provider) because the registration fee has to be paid at a tax office. I’ve gone ahead and read through the law in order to try and figure out what it requires, and it doesn’t seem to specify where registration should be done, merely that it has to be done through a central database that reports the registration of all the cell phones. I would like to know how the law operates and if the process could be streamlined so that any registration fees could be paid at the carriers’ offices.”
Dear Asif: On June 15, 2012, a new legal amendment regarding IMEI registration was published in the Official Gazette. Before this date, IMEI registration was easier and no taxes were applied.
This registration fee matter has only become an issue with this new law. Under the new law, a TL 100 registration fee has to be paid at a tax office. The difficulty is not only paying TL 100 more at the top but also that you have to find a tax office to pay this money. (You cannot imagine how difficult paying other taxes is sometimes.)
The cell phone owner can make this payment at any tax office. The important point is that this tax will be paid in the name of the cell phone owner and the name should be demonstrated on the payment receipt as it is shown on your passport. After getting the receipt from the tax office, the IMEI registration can be done in any subsidiary of a GSM operator. Generally they charge about TL 10 for the transaction (I had to pay TL 20). Consequently, the law does not specify where tax has to be paid and where the registration has to be done. You can even pay the tax in one city and do the registration in another city. The subsidiaries send the tax receipt and passport copy to the Information Technologies Office.
The other important point is that no new registrations are allowed for the same person (not the same passport -- some people thought changing a passport may help to register a second telephone) within two years following the first registration. Apparently the person who made this law changes his telephone only every two years.
Poor me bought a telephone from Dubai without noticing the change in the law and had to pay the TL 100 tax. Yet it is still cheaper to buy from abroad.