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VAT refunds in deliveries and services to exhibit attendees not residing in Turkey


published on 17 June 2020 | reading time approx. 3 minutes


Exhibitions, fairs and kermesses are organizations held at certain times of the year, covering a certain period of time, where various works and products are introduced, shown and exhibited. These organizations bring sellers and customers together, allowing sellers to promote their products comfortably, while provides customers with the opportunity to have as much information as possible about the products. However, the purpose of such organizations is not only to promotion and exhibit products.
While many countries organize fairs, exhibitions and kermesses, it aims to strengthen trade, to offer participating companies new opportunities in the domestic and international markets and to contribute to the national economy. While doing these organizations, it also carries out various incentives and encouraging practices in order to increase participation within and outside the country.



There is also a regulation within this scope in our tax legislation. According to 11/1-b article of VAT Law no. 3065, limited with the reciprocity principles, paid VAT amounts which are paid directly related with the expenses regarding fairs, exhibitions and kermesses shall be refunded to those attendees of fairs, exhibitions and kermesses who are not residing in Turkey.

VAT refunds in deliveries and services to exhibitors not residing in Turkey is also visible in the increase in the rate of participation in trade fairs in our country is a very encouraging applications that make a positive impact.


Scope of exemption

First of all, the people who will benefit from this practice, should not have a residence in Turkey, there should be no legal and business center or a workplace in Turkey and value-added tax, income tax or corporation tax liability must require the absence of any activity. In addition, while exhibitions and kermesses are included within the scope of the exemption, although there are smaller organizations than the fair, congresses are not included in this definition, they are not exempted. This means that even if the participants fulfil the conditions, if the event they attend is a congress or a conference, it is not possible for them to benefit from this exception. The minimum amount of goods and services to be purchased within the scope of the exemption, including VAT, has been determined as the invoice issuing limit stipulated in article 232 of the Tax Procedure Law No. 213 and applied in the relevant period (1.400 Turkish Lira for 2020). This amount may include multiple goods or services provided that they benefit from exemption.


However, even if the amount is within the limit, every expense cannot be made the subject of refund. The expenditure to be declared must be directly related to fairs, exhibitions and participation in kermesses. In other words, the accommodation of the guest who came for the fair can be subject to refund, while the spices and jewellery that the same guest has received from the Grand Bazaar cannot be returned.


On the other hand, the financial administration states that not every applicant has the right to extradition, but only to the applicants who are obliged to pay in the countries where they have mutual agreement. A list of these countries will be provided later in the article.



How Will Be The Refund Application ?

Foreign people and companies participating in fairs, kermesses and exhibitions have the right to demand a refund of the VAT they have paid, as we mentioned before. Those who will benefit from this application must submit a document that they will receive from their tax office in their own country (from the relevant administration according to their country) and that there is a tax liability. This document is prepared so as to include the name and surname of the concerned person or the company name, the tax office in which it is affiliated in its country, the subject of activity and the address.


Input VATs which are paid during respective transactions will be refunded by appointed regional fiscal administrations limited with the conditions of reciprocity. In this respect those who apply for refundment should know the appointed fiscal administrations.


Due to these transactions, a refund may be requested on a monthly basis of the calendar year. As of 2019, the refund process for VAT returns resulting from full exemption, can be made until the end of the second calendar year following the period during which the transaction revealing the right of return takes place. Refund may be paid cash or by bank transfer.

Countries With Mutual Agreement

The countries where reciprocity is provided in this context are given below.


Bosnia and HerzegoviniaFranceItalyRomania


The Documents Required For Refund

A petition must be filed with the relevant tax office for the refund request first. The following documents should be attached to this petition:

  • The refund request form attached to the VAT General Application Communiqué,
  • In cases where the refund is requested by any intermediary, should be a notarized power of attorney,
  • In cases who attend fairs, exhibitions and kermesses is a real person, should be notary certified copy of the passports belonging to participants,
  • "Tax obligation" document showing tax obligation in their own country (If the refund is repeated, this document does not need to be obtained again),
  • Originals or notarized copies of the invoice or self-employed invoice receipt issued in accordance with the provisions of Law No. 213 regarding expenditures.


How Will Be Refund Paid?

Refund claims not exceeding 1.000 TRY shall be paid without demanding tax inspection report, Sworn- in Certified Public Accountant report and guarantee, if the documents required for refund are submitted.

If the refundable amount exceeds 1.000 TRY, the refund claims shall be evaluated according to the conclusion of the tax inspection report. In case the owner of the right of return gives guarantee, the refund process is carried out without waiting for the examination report.


Then guarantee is then resolved based on tax inspection report. Fiscal administration attached the tax inspection report, receipt of the guarantee (if there is a guarantee)to the payment documents.


As mentioned at the beginning, exhibitions and fairs are organized to contribute to transnational relations and commercial activities, rather than the purpose of exhibitors to display and sell their products.

The main reason behind the VAT Refundment Application according to VAT Law article 11/1-b is to improve the international trade relations by encouraging the potential international attendees.

Dissemination this refund system and increasing the number of countries that are reciprocated will undoubtedly contribute positively to the promotion of the country and the country's economy. The dissemination of this practice is of great importance as it will make important contributions both commercially and socio-culturally.

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