TODAY’S – Finance Minister: More luxury taxes possible

Finance Minister: More luxury taxes possibleAdditional taxes on luxury goods may be introduced in the near future in order to increase public revenue, according to Finance Minister Mehmet IimIek, who signaled possible new taxation legislation in remarks to Parliament during budget talks on Friday.IimIek stated that the government seeks to control state expenditures, fight the untaxed informal economy and increase the quality of revenues, meaning spread taxes across all sectors and spheres of the public, including certain currently untaxed areas, such as unearned income from the utilization of property.

For this reason, he added, new taxes on luxury items could soon be introduced in a bill.IimIek noted, for example, that people who own a piece of real estate are not obliged to pay any tax after five years of ownership, regardless of whether or not they make any profit from the use of the property.

He added that if the new bill regarding income taxation is adopted in Parliament, any such earnings will be subject to taxation.Likening the possible increase in the tax on luxury goods to the recent tax hikes included in the price of automobiles with large engine displacement as well as precious stones and jewelry, IimIek said the legislation would contribute to government revenue if enacted.

IimIekand#39s statements came on the heels of recent disputes over the cost of the controversial presidential palace publicly known as Ak Saray and its lavishness and size, considering its function as a residence for the president, which is a largely symbolic position in Turkey.Early in November, IimIek announced that the cost of the palace was TL 137 billion ($615 million) adding that TL 964 million had already been spent on the new palace and that the government had allocated TL 300 million more in the 2015 budget for building costs however, the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI) has refused to reveal the actual cost of the new presidential palace, saying that the disclosure of the palaceand#39s price tag might damage the countryand#39s economic interests.

Responding to the question of a deputy in Parliament, the minister also confirmed that the presidential palace has not been insured with any insurance policy, since public buildings are not required to be insured according to the law.Turkey has not given IMF a loanIn answer to a question from opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Alim IIIk about whether or not Turkey has given the International Monetary Fund (IMF) a loan, IimIek replied that Turkey has not loaned any money to the IMF as of yet.

The government has long been voicing the notion that the Turkish economy has been strengthened so much during Justice and Development Party (AK Party) administrations that the country has now turned into one that can afford to lend money to the IMF, after long years of dependence on the IMF for financial aid. IimIek noted that Turkey had paid off the last of its debt to the IMF in 2013 and that the amount was $864 million.

Following the payment of the nationand#39s final loan installment to the IMF, the government said it pledged $5 billion to the IMF to be used for the European sovereign debt crisis in May 2013. Since then, government officials have been underlining Turkeyand#39s new position as a potential lender to the IMF at every possible occasion in order to emphasize the developments made during AK Party terms in power.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman