Force majeure conditions, which come into question in the event of situations that prevent taxpayers from performing their duties, are regulated under the Tax Procedure Law and it is one of the most important regulations protecting taxpayers' rights. Force majeure state has been declared with the Generel Communiqué no 518 on Tax Procedure Law published in the Official Gazette with number 31078 on 24.03.2020 for the taxpayers who are unable to perform their tax duties in consequence of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Hereby this article the eligibility of taxpayers to benefit the postponement of tax duties provided by force majeure provisions in scope of tax legislations and the General Communiqué
Key Words: Force Majeure; Tax Procedure Law, Covid-19, postponed tax duties
- FORCE MAJEURE
Force Majeure is the events and situations that occur beyond the taxpayer's will, which prevent the fulfillment of tax duties, and cannot be controlled or prevented.
Although force majeure has not been defined within the tax legislations, its situations are exemplified in article 13 of the Tax Procedure Law:
- Serious accident and illness, and imprisonment that would prevent the fulfillment of any of the tax duties;
- Catastrophes such as fire, earthquake and flooding that would prevent the fulfillment of the tax duties;
- Compulsory absence situations that occur beyond of the will of a party;
- Unavailability of books and documents due to reasons outside the will of the owner,
are such situations.
- BENEFITING FROM FORCE MAJEURE PROVISIONS OF GENERAL COMMUNIQUE NO 518 ON TPL
Regulations have been made for taxpayers who are directly affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic and the measures have been taken in this context, to benefit from TPL's force majeure provisions of General Communiqué no 518 in TPL published in the Official Gazette on 24 March 2020.
In the regulation made in the Communiqué, taxpayers are separated into two groups, and the postponed duties are explained severally for each group of taxpayers.
Consist in the first group;
- Taxpayers with personal income tax liability in terms of commercial, agricultural, and professional income,
- Taxpayers who are directly affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic and whose main businesses are among the fields of activity identified in the Communiqué
- Taxpayers whose activities are suspended temporarily,
are accepted as affected by force majeure between the dates of 01.04.2020 and 30.06.2020.
In the event of a force majeure situation occurs for the taxpayers in the first group, it has been decided to postpone the tax duties. Thereby, the Withholding Tax Returns that must be submitted for the period of March, April and May, the submission deadline of Value Added Tax Returns, the notification deadline for Forms Ba-Bs, the creation and signing deadline of e-books, and the uploading time of Electronic Book Charters are postponed until 27.07.2020. Payment deadlines of the taxes accrued by these declarations are postponed;
- Until the end of 27.10.2020 for March,
- Until the end of 27.11.2020 for April,
- Until the end of 28.12.2020 for May.
Consist in the second group;
- Taxpayers and professionals who are within the scope of curfew due to age limitation of 65 or over, or having a chronic disease,
- Taxpayers whose declarations or notifications are given by the members of the professions ( Certified Public Accountants and Sworn-In Certified Public Accountants) in accordance with the "Mediation and Liability Agreement" which is valid as of the date of publication of the Communiqué,
are accepted as force majeure between the dates of 23.03.2020 and the end date of curfew.
- FORCE MAJEURE IN SCOPE OF TPL
In situations not covered by the Communiqué, taxpayers can benefit from force majeure provisions in article 13 and 15 of TPL. Nevertheless, the conditions below must be met by taxpayer as a means to benefit from force majeure, especially when evaluated by the article 13;
- Taxpayer getting ill,
- Illness occurs in a way that prevents the fulfillment of tax duties,
- Existence of a causal relation between the illness and the failure to fulfill the tax duties.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.