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Work Permit for a Freelancer

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I'm planning to move to Alanya.

I'm a freelancer and I'm not going to sell products or services inside Turkey or to Turks. However, I want to open a bank account in Turkey and my income will be deposited to this bank account. Also, I'm going to buy a property in order to be able to get a residency permit.

My question is that should I register a company in Turkey in order to do my freelance job; considering that my income will be deposited to my Turkish bank account? Or are there any other better solutions to get a work permit as a foreigner with such situations in Turkey?

Thank you!

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A friend of mine and I called the Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services about this same question. They said that if you are working online, and not doing business directly with Turkish businesses or people, not being paid from Turkey and not cutting invoices here, you don't need a work permit.

Check your country's tax treaty with Turkey. You can probably find with a Google search. The one Turkey has with the USA says that I am responsible for paying taxes in Turkey as soon as my tax home becomes Turkey, which occurs after six months. But check the treaty, there are exceptions, such as government retirements and real estate income from your home country, there may be one in your tax treaty about working online.

You can open a personal bank account in Turkey easily. Do you already have a company that receives the money for your work or do you receive it personally?

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Thank you Ken for answering my questions quickly. 

My case is that I'm a web developer and I'm working as a freelancer. I don't work for a specific employer and I don't get a regular salary. I get different projects from different clients who live around the world and since I'm going to move to Turkey, I'm looking to ask them to pay to my bank account in Turkey; once I opened it. Currently, they all pay me personally. 

So, as I understood from your reply, since I'm not going to work directly with Turkish businesses or people, I don't need a work permit. Meanwhile my tax home will become Turkey. So, It looks that I'm going to make money in Turkey. Should I pay taxes for it? Is it possible to pay taxes without having a work permit or establishing a company in Turkey?

It's going to get complicated and I want it to be completely legal. I would appreciate if you could help me on this.

Thank you!

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That's correct, and direct from the ministry of labor during a conversation with them.

Meanwhile my tax home will become Turkey. So, It looks that I'm going to make money in Turkey. Should I pay taxes for it?

I'm not an accountant, and unfortunately I've never even heard of one outside of Istanbul, but I'll try to give you an answer. Of course the best source of this information would be a Turkish accountant, or one in your own country who is familiar with the tax treaty your country has with Turkey. In the US for example, there are tax professionals who specialize in doing taxes for expats. If you have something like that in your country, find them and contact them.

But I'll at least give you my non-accountant opinion.

You have to read your tax treaty to know this. However, if it's like the one with the USA, you're liable for paying taxes on ALL worldwide income to Turkey when your tax home becomes Turkey, EXCEPT for various things which are specified in the treaty. So it seems to me that, no matter where you're "making the money," if your tax home is Turkey you'll have to pay taxes in Turkey.


Is it possible to pay taxes without having a work permit or establishing a company in Turkey?

Yes. You don't need a work permit or a company to pay taxes. You just need a vergi numarası (tax number), which foreigners always get before they apply for a residence permit, or a yabancı kimlik numarası (foreigner identification number, or YKN) which will automatically be assigned to you when your residence permit is approved. It will also be printed on your residence permit card. Once you have your YKN, you can use it in place of your tax number, and pay taxes with that. You'll have one when it comes time for you to pay taxes (if you have to pay them).

I haven't paid taxes in Turkey before because all of my income is exempt. However if I did, I would find a Turkish accountant and have someone come to translate for me if they didn't speak English. Then I would have the accountant do my first tax form and submit it. After that I'd do it myself using the accountant's work as a template.

By the way a tax number is easy to get. See this article:


Mertsel Insurance can also get one for you and send it to you. They also issue health insurance and do residence permit applications for Turkey Central members and guests.


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Post here again if you need anything. I'm happy to help. I'm surprised more online workers and digital nomads don't come to Turkey instead of Thailand, Bali, etc.

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