As an outcome of the EU harmonization process, the Regulation regarding Customs Reconciliation introduced a brand new procedure to the Turkish Customs system on August 31, 2011. Since then, the Reconciliation Procedure has been playing a major role on resolving the customs disputes.

Before the reconciliation procedure was introduced to the Turkish Customs Practice, there was a legal gap regarding how to resolve customs disputes without applying to the court. Hence, the procedure called “application for correction” regulated under Article 242 of the Customs Law numbered 4458 Law which granted the taxpayers the opportunity to request for correction of the tax assessments and negotiate with the customs authority regarding whether the tax assessments are right or not, has been abrogated on 18.09.2009, by the law numbered 5911.

Now that the reconciliation procedure fills in the gap and brings along that Customs Office directors and examiners shall participate in The Reconciliation Commissions of Customs and Enforcement General Directorate, the taxpayers and the customs officers have the opportunity to negotiation and discussion.

According to the Regulation, the taxpayers can apply for reconciliation in case there is misinterpretation or misapplication of provisions of law and/or there is a conflict between the court decisions and the administrative opinion on a customs issue. Reconciliation Procedure has a wide content that covers all additionally accrued custom duties and fines except for several cases. For instance, in cases where financial burdens are part of customs tax value but cannot be collected by the customs authority or financial burdens attached to the crime of smuggling cannot be held within the scope of reconciliation.

Reconciliation Procedure starts with a reconciliation request to be made by the taxpayer within fifteen days as of the notification of the tax and fines, to the Reconciliation Commissions of Customs and Enforcement General Directorate for the requests up to 500.000.-TL; and to the Central Reconciliation Commission is authorized for the reconciliation requests above 500.000. TL –

Considering that it takes long for the lawsuits filed before administrative courts to be finalized and provided that the custom authorities take the reconciliation procedure serious and make reasonable evaluations and reconciliation offers in order for the customs disputes to be resolved, this new Reconciliation Procedure can be deemed a reform for the Turkish Customs Disputes.

Orcun Cetinkaya
Yelina Tayfur