Turkey turns on tax evaders as global cash runs dry

Today's Zaman - Turkey's plans to crack down on tax evaders could net the government billions of dollars, crucial money at as a credit crunch grips the globe, but it must first invest in manpower and new technology to succeed. The Turkish government has said it would launch a campaign in 2008 against widespread tax evasion in the form of tighter controls and harsher sentences as revenue-boosting fast economic growth slows down and the global backdrop deteriorates. Even in the worst scenario, the government should be able to successfully target 10 percent of Turkey's unregistered economy and this will mean a few billion dollars in additional tax revenues, said a government official who declined to be named. Simplification of the tax code, use of new technology such as sending SMS messages to taxpayers' mobile telephones and installing devices at petrol stations to monitor sales are aimed to create an efficient system. Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said earlier this month that the government was working on a whole new income tax law and will impose harsher penalties for those "who resist taxation". Unakitan urged consumers to ask for invoices when shopping "if they want to leave a better Turkey to their children". A tax reform bill is yet to come to parliament.