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E-bookkeeping and e-invoicing obligations expand in Turkey

January 11, 2016  |  Asia, Compliance, Electronic Invoicing, Europe

The transition to e-bookkeeping can be considered as a major step forward in the decade-long endeavor to bring the Turkish bookkeeping system and accounting profession in line with international best practices.

To satisfy this mounting need, a number of primary and secondary legislative steps were taken by the government.

To this end, the reiterated Article No.242 of the Turkish Tax Procedure Law that regulates the details with respect to mandatory books was amended with a brand-new section which defines e-bookkeeping as an aggregation of all electronic records that the mandatory and conventional books have to contain.

As pointed out in the reiterated Article No/242 of the Tax Procedure Law, the technical aspects of devising the e-bookkeeping system is left to the Revenue Administration, a semi-autonomous and Finance Ministry-affiliated institution tasked and authorized to carry out virtually all tax-related affairs nationwide to arrive at the ultimate goal of a fully-fledged automated electronic tax office within the wider context of the e-government project. In this regard, the Revenue Administration has drafted and published various secondary legal documents and general communiqués constituting the vast majority, the most recent of which being the General Communiqué No.454 dated June 20.

Previous general communiqués

The original introduction of e-invoices to the Turkish tax system happened with the publication of General Communiqué No.397 and effective on March 5, 2010, which designated e-invoices as a voluntary option to be used by joint stock and limited liability companies.

Later on Dec. 13, 2011, the preparation of mandatory books electronically was introduced with the General Communiqué No.1 on e-bookkeeping, which provided some taxpayers that meet certain criteria with the opportunity to voluntarily employ e-bookkeeping as an alternative.

Further, the provisions of the aforementioned General Communiqué No.397 were accordingly amended with the promulgation of General Communiqué No.416 on June 28, 2012, to allow taxpayers other than joint-stock companies and limited-liability companies to use electronic invoices, provided that these taxpayers meet certain criteria specified in the relevant legislation.

For the first time with General Communiqué No.421, which was promulgated on Dec. 14, 2012, the “voluntary scheme” was left behind and keeping electronic books and using electronic invoices was made mandatory for some groups of taxpayers such as companies holding lube oil trade licenses within the context of Turkish Petroleum Market Law, certain taxpayers with a minimum specific annual gross revenue that have purchases from these “license holding” companies and other companies manufacturing or importing goods mentioned in the List No.(III) Attached to the Excise Tax Law.

Recent regulation

Lastly, after sharing a draft communiqué to receive feedback from the general public, business circles and professional associations, the Revenue Administration proceeded to publish the General Communiqué No. 454 on June 20, as its last and most comprehensive step in a row of administrative efforts to expand the scope of the responsibility to keep electronic books and invoices by compelling more taxpayers, in addition to those obliged by the previous communiqué, that meet certain criteria to keep electronic books and invoices.
According to this last piece of legislation, the following taxpayers are included, besides previously mentioned ones, within the scope of the so-called “mandatory scheme” regarding e-bookkeeping and e-invoices:

a) Taxpayers with gross revenues over 10 million Turkish Liras in 2014 or the following fiscal periods,
b) Taxpayers who get authorizing licenses from the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) due to production, imports, delivery etc. of the goods specified in the List No.(I) attached to the Excise Tax Law,
c) Taxpayers who produce, construct and import the goods mentioned in the List No.(III) attached to the Excise Tax Law.

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