Before you even attempt to buy property or get a residence permit in Turkey, you will need a Tax Identification Number.
Whether you are a student looking to study in Turkey full-time or as an exchange student, coming for work or to carry out research, or looking to spend your retirement here, the first thing you’ll need to get is a tax ID number to engage in official activities — regardless of whether you intend to stay here permanently or not.
A tax number is essentially your ID number in Turkey. It is a prerequisite for any financial transactions and registration procedures for non-residents.
For Turks, national ID numbers are automatically considered as their tax ID numbers. The only instance where Turkish citizens need a different tax number is when they want to establish a business. They have to obtain a tax certificate on behalf of the business and take note of the number listed there to use when making financial transactions.
As a foreigner, you will need a Turkish tax ID number if you want to:
- Open a bank account in Turkey,
- Buy or invest in real estate,
- Get health insurance,
- Receive healthcare,
- Subscribe to utility services,
- Give power of attorney,
- Engage in notarial services,
- Establish a company,
- Get a driver’s license,
- And, of course, apply for a residence permit.
Having a tax ID number is important because most administrative and legal procedures will require you to have a foreign national identification number which won’t be readily available until after you have got your residence permit.
And no, just because you have a tax number does not mean you have to pay taxes in Turkey; it is a formality for all procedures.
Thankfully gone are the days when you had to queue for hours at tax offices with no digital alternative whatsoever. The whole procedure is now very fast and simple; most appointments last about 15 minutes.
To obtain a tax ID number you will basically need 3 things, which are:
- Your passport (must be valid),
- A photocopy of the ID page on your passport,
- A tax ID number application form.
There are 2 ways you can go about obtaining a tax ID number: online and in-person.
Both ways are free of charge, bar photocopying fees, getting a Turkish phone number (if applying online) and travel to the tax office.
To get a Turkish tax ID number online from the comfort of your home, you will need:
- A valid Turkish phone number,
- A digital copy of your passport’s ID page on your computer (pdf, jpeg or png are the most-widely accepted formats and should be smaller than 1 MB).
A step-by-step guide (online application)
- Go to the official webpage of the Interactive Tax Office (İnteraktif Vergi Dairesi) at ivd.gib.gov.tr/
- Scroll down to the box that says Application For Non-Citizen’s Potential Tax Number. You will see 2 tabs/choices that read “Application” and “Confirmation”. Click “Application”.
- When you click on the application, a new window will pop up with your application form. The application form has English translations next to the Turkish.
- Fill the form carefully. At the very bottom, it will ask you to upload the digital photocopy of your passport as the final step.
- Once you fill everything out and click submit via the “Tamam” button, the system will give you your tax ID number in the form of an official letter in PDF format. You will need to enable pop-up windows and cookies in your browser to receive the document.
- The T.C. Vergi Kimlik Numarası or the Potansiyel Vergi Kimlik Numarası listed in the letter is your Tax ID number.
If you do not have a Turkish phone number, you will have to go with the second option, applying for a tax ID number by going to your nearest Tax Office.
For that you will need:
- Your passport,
- A photocopy of your passport ID page,
- Your Tax ID Application Form filled and signed.
A step-by-step guide (in-person application)
- Make sure you have your passport,and its photocopy with you, and your application form is accurately and completely filled.
- Every city and district in Turkey has a tax office. Choose the one closest to you or the easiest to get to. Once inside the tax office building, look for a sign that reads “Sicil İşlemleri” (Registration Procedures).
- A word of warning: Clerks and other staff working at the tax office may not know English, so it is best to have someone with you that knows Turkish. Or you could always take a paper with you that says: “Yabancı uyrukluyum ve vergi numarası almaya geldim. Yardımcı olabilir misiniz?” (I am a foreign national and I am here to obtain a tax ID number. Could you help me?)
- Once everything is completed, they will give you an official letter with your tax ID number on it.
A few questions you may have about your tax ID number:
Q: How do I check to see if I already have a tax ID number or have successfully obtained it?
A: Go to the official webpage of the Interactive Tax Office (mentioned above) and click on the “Confirmation” button under the “Application For Non-Citizen’s Potential Tax Number” title.
A new window will pop up with a heading that reads “Potential Tax Number Confirmation for Foreigners.” You will have to enter your passport number and date of birth and select your country from the drop-down menu. After you click on the blue “sorgula” (check/submit) button, you will be able to see if you have already obtained a valid tax ID number.
Q: What happens if you misplace the paper with your tax ID on it or it gets ruined?
A: Don’t panic. You can go to the tax office to have it reprinted.
Q: How long will my Turkish tax ID number be valid for?
A: Once you obtain your tax ID number, it is yours for an unlimited amount of time.