ANKARA: The total percentage of taxes taken from the gross salary of an average worker in Turkey equates to the income for approximately three hours of an eight-hour work day, the second-highest ratio among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.
Embattled Greece was the only country that surpassed Turkey in this ranking.
According to a report published in Meydan daily on Tuesday, which utilized recent OECD statistics, employees in Turkey are charged 36.8 percent of their gross wages for various tax items such as income tax, social security contributions, etc. This ratio represents about three hours of work per day. The take-home salary of an average worker in Turkey after tax is only 63.2 percent of their gross wage.
The same ratio in New Zealand was recorded as 18 minutes a day, the lowest among OECD countries. The corresponding ratio rises to around three-and-a-half hours a day in Greece.
Speaking to the daily, columnist Mehmet Bulut pointed to the distorted taxation system of Turkey and asked: “Meanwhile, what do those who profit from interest or repo revenues do? They are either regarded as exceptional and do not pay taxes or they avoid paying taxes on time and wait for amnesty. It is weird but most minimum wage earners in Turkey pay more taxes than their employers on a yearly basis.”
Underlining that workers with a monthly minimum wage of TL 949 pay upwards of TL 3,000 in taxes to the state, he also noted that around 40 percent of employers do not even pay taxes, as they declare losses to the Revenues Administration (GİB) to take advantage of tax exemptions and to dodge levies, according to Finance Ministry data.
Meydan’s report came on the heels of remarks made by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç last week criticizing the extravagant expenditures of state institutions, saying: “Our record is poor on extravagance. We would not need tax money if we had prevented extravagance.” Arınç’s statement coincided with a host of news reports in the media covering the cost of the country’s recently built presidential palace.
Apart from its luxury toilets, worth up to TL 10,000 each and gold-plated glasses costing more than TL 1,000 each, the palace last week was on the public agenda once again due to plans for the extensive use of imported gilded marble worth 3,000 euros per square meter.