5.12.2019 11:13:00

Importance of Tax Incentives in Maritime Sector


Surrounded on three sides by the sea and approximately 8300 kilometers of coastline with a sea view in countries with Turkey, accordingly, the maritime industry is in an important position and sea transport. When the geographical position of our country is taken into consideration, it is seen that the maritime sector is one of the countries that need to develop the most.

Approximately 86% of Turkey's foreign trade is carried by sea. In this respect, it is of great importance to support maritime transport to protect, develop and strengthen maritime transport and its activities. The increase in the number of shipyards in recent years and the acceleration of the maritime sector have increased this importance even more.

The majority of the world maritime trade fleet consists of flagged ships from Greece, Japan, Germany, China, Norway, USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Malta, and England. In the territorial waters of our country, thousands of boats are owned by Turkish and registered to a foreign flag. These boats attract foreign flags instead of the Turkish flag for many different reasons. The main actor in these boats attracting foreign flags is tax burdens. Therefore, before examining the tax incentive practices of our country, it will be useful to look at the tax incentive practices of the major maritime trade fleet and leading states in maritime transport. For this reason, a joint study was carried out by our Ministry and the Ministry of Finance to encourage the withdrawal of the Turkish flag by eliminating the tax disadvantages in front of the transition to the Turkish flag.

In this context, T.C. The Law on the Amendment of the Retirement Fund Law and Certain Laws and Decree-Laws has been enacted. These transactions are carried out within the scope of the Communiqué No. 2017/3 on the Transition of Boats Abroad or Attracting Foreign Flags to the Turkish Flag.

Table 1. Flag distribution of the Turkish flag boats


Country6770 S.K. BeforeAfterTotal
A.B.D101652676283
İngiltere94153247
Almanya4292134
Hollanda44549
Marshall Adl.41822
Avusturya12719
Fransa7916
Panama12315
Diğer12391214
Toplam131456856999
Source: Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications (as of 09 April 2018)

Table 1 above shows the flag from which the boats with the Turkish flag before and after the law come from. Accordingly, while there were 1314 boats registered in the mooring register before the law, 5685 boats were transferred to the Turkish flag thanks to the tax incentives provided by the law. That is, it is understood that the number of boats registered in the mooring register increased by 430% in a short time. When the table is examined, it is seen that the transition is mostly made from the US flag.

To support and develop the marine sector in our country, various tax incentive applications have been made and continue to be done. When the tax incentives provided in general are examined, it is seen that these tax advantages are brought especially on income, corporations, value-added and special consumption taxes. The important point here is to provide the tax incentives to serve the purpose and to provide advantages. Correct implementation of tax incentives contributes greatly to meeting expectations. At this point, which tax incentive will be applied for which target should be determined.

As can be seen, all these tax incentives provided in the maritime sector are important steps to support and develop the maritime sector. Every ship carrying the Turkish Flag also represents our country in international waters and the territorial waters of other countries and contributes to the promotion of our country and increases our reputation. To develop the maritime sector, which contributes significantly to our country's economy, it is of great importance to extend such incentives and comply with the target.

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