In the face of the Covid-19 outbreak, which has affected the whole world, each country decided to defer a number of collectible taxes within its own economic means. In this context, certain flexibilities were offered to some taxpayers in our country. However, given that all sectors are interconnected in today's global world, it cannot be concluded that the economic consequences of the pandemic will affect some sectors while not affecting some others.

Esteemed Fortune readers,

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic, which started taking its toll in our country in March, was continuing to spread rapidly all over the world while I was penning this article. I hope that we will get rid of this pandemic as soon as possible and survive with the least damage in both economic and health terms. The pandemic significantly affected all economic activities and many businesses either suspended their operations or decided to minimize them. Although it is possible to submit returns and perform other transactions electronically under the current conditions, it would be too optimistic to expect taxpayers to fulfill their tax duties in a timely and complete manner as before.

In this respect, the submission and payment of tax returns of taxpayers who are over 65 years old or suffer from chronic illnesses were postponed to the 15th day following the abolition of the curfew. Force majeure was declared for the taxpayers bearing income tax liability in terms of commercial, agricultural and professional earnings as well as the taxpayers directly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and those engaged in the listed sectors in terms of the main field of activity while the deadline of submitting and paying annual returns for Income Taxpayers and the deadlines of submitting the Value Added Tax and Withholding Tax returns that must have been submitted in April, May and June were postponed to July while the deadline of paying the latter taxes were postponed to October, November and December, respectively. Likewise, the payment deadlines of the SSI (Social Security Institution) premiums for the aforementioned parties as well as employers and employees for April, May and June were postponed to October, November and December.

In our country, all taxpayers through and through were affected by this pandemic, but unfortunately only certain sectors were covered by the regulations. However, all taxpayers must have been covered by the force majeure without any discrimination.

Apart from the force majeure regulation, the Accommodation Tax, which was originally planned to be effective from April 1, was been postponed to 2021 and the VAT rate applicable in air transport services was reduced to 1%. Similarly, a regulation was introduced to submit every six months for 2020 the Recovery Contribution Rate Returns which were put into practice this year and submitted on monthly basis. For export-registered deliveries, it was decided to extend the three-month export period by three more months for the taxpayers, whose period ends within the force majeure period. The practice of the obligation to pay taxes through certain banks was stretched and expanded, and certain taxes up to TRY 50,000 were made eligible for payment by the credit cards of contracted banks via the Interactive Tax Office application. In addition to the measures taken for the fulfillment of tax liabilities due to the Coronavirus pandemic, taxpayers who have difficulty in paying their taxes will be able to pay the taxes incurred within the relevant period in installments through the facility of postponement within the framework of the Law on the Collection Procedure of Public Receivables. However, I think that it will be necessary to decrease the deferment interest and to stretch and facilitate the conditions regarding this practice.

In availing myself of this opportunity, I wish everyone healthy days in the hope of the disappearance of this pandemic as soon as possible.

Leon Aslan Coskun