May 15, 2019 / 8:06 AM / 2 months ago

Turkey to charge customs tax for small e-commerce packages

ISTANBUL, May 15 (Reuters) - Turkey will charge a customs tax of up to 20 percent on all e-commerce orders arriving from abroad beginning at month’s end, ditching an existing tax-free exemption for lower-valued packages, the country’s Official Gazette said on Wednesday.

Since last year, Turkish authorities have charged a customs tax of up to 20 percent on orders coming from abroad only if the declared value of the packages exceeds 22 euros ($24.64). Over the years, this maximum value has declined, increasing government revenues.

The decision to impose customs tax on all packages - except books, which continue to have a 150-euro threshold - will be applied in 15 days, the Gazette said.

In February, as part of an effort to lift the economy from recession, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said Turkey will clamp down on international digital commerce shipments that avoid taxes in order to support local manufacturers.

In 2018, Turkey’s e-commerce market was worth 59.9 billion lira ($9.90 billion), largely composed of retail and travel transactions, according to a report by Deloitte and Turkey’s Informatics Industry Association (TUBISAD).

Turkey has major potential for e-commerce with a population of 82 million people and a median age of 32 - younger than any other country in Europe. By 2040, the population is expected to swell to 100 million. ($1 = 6.0492 liras) ($1 = 0.8929 euros) (Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Jonathan Spicer)

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