Gov’t implements another tax audit to muzzle critical Taraf

As a part of yet another act of intimidation against the critical Taraf daily, the government has initiated a new tax inspection of the daily ahead the upcoming June 7 general election.
With two weeks to go until the general election, the Tax Inspection Council Administration of the Finance Ministry has called on Taraf officials to visit the administrationand’s headquarters on June 5 as a part of the tax inspection process. The comprehensive tax audit is being implemented by the ministryand’s Deputy Inspector Elif Mutlu.
The implementation of the comprehensive tax audit process first started two-and-a-half years ago in 2012 when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) employed inspector Abdullah Kiraz to implement a tax inspection of Taraf.
As a result of two years of inspections performed by Kiraz and others, Taraf has been fined TL 5.5 million by the Tax Inspection Council Administration of the Finance Ministry over its scrap paper sales to paper mills. The daily wrote that other newspapers also engage in the sale of scrap paper, but Taraf has been the only one fined for the transaction.
However, the fine wasnand’t the end of it, the daily reported. Three months after the issuance of the tax fine, the Finance Ministryand’s Tax Inspection Council announced that it would examine Tarafand’s accounts once again. Mutlu on June 20 announced that all the newspaperand’s 2013 and 2014 accounts will be fully reviewed as per a decision taken by the Tax Inspection Council on June 12. Taraf also claimed it had information to suggest that the audit had been ordered by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
While the process of objecting to the TL 5.5 million tax penalties in court is ongoing, the ministry launched yet another inspection of Taraf that involves the examination of files previously inspected by Kiraz.
In response to the new wave of inspections, the Taraf editorial board recently sent a letter to Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek asking: andquotHave you [your ministry] ever implemented any tax inspection on pro-government media outlets such as Sabah, Star, Akiam and Ciner Media Group as well Doiui Media Group? If you have carried out [tax inspections on these outlets], was any fine imposed on any of these aforementioned groups? Did you zero the tax due from Cengiz Holding whose owner swore at all Turkish people [pro-government businessman Mehmet Cengiz used explicit language to describe the andlsquonationand’ in an audio recording published in 2014].and”

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman