Banking, Money and Taxes in Turkey
Turkey has a sound banking infrastructure with plenty of local and foreign options for expats to choose from. Expats moving to Turkey on an employment package may be surprised to find that they generally don’t get to choose the bank they would prefer to use. Rather, employers choose a single bank to work with, and employees are responsible for opening the appropriate bank account in order to receive payment.
The official currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (YTL), which is divided into 100 kurus.
- Notes are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 liras
- Coins are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 kurus and 1 lira
Banking in Turkey
Of the local banks in Turkey, Garanti Bank is known for making a more pointed attempt at employing staff who can communicate in English and is often chosen by employers hiring foreigners for its efforts (though not necessarily successful) to cater to expatriates. Alternatively, Isbank owns several European branches and may be more convenient for expats relocating from the European Union (EU). Akbank is another local option that offers a full range of services for expats.
Foreign banks in Turkey include Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Citibank, though only HSBC has enough branches countrywide to be optimal for use as a primary bank.
That being said, Internet banking services are provided by nearly all banks; local banks offer web pages in English as well as Turkish.
Most banks operate between 9am and 5pm. Turkish banks remain open during lunch hours, but this tends to be the busiest time of the day and queues can be long.
Opening a bank account in Turkey
Opening a Turkish bank account is relatively easy for expats. Generally, a copy of one’s passport, a tax number, residence permit and proof of address are required.
In order to obtain a tax number, expats need to go to the local tax office with their passport.
ATMs and credit cards in Turkey
There are ATMs in most malls and in several points around cities where the Turkish Lira, as well as foreign currency, is available.
Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted in Turkey, including for home delivery where the delivery person will bring a portable machine.
Personal cheques, however, are not commonly accepted in most places, and banks do not routinely issue cheque books.
Taxes in Turkey
Income tax in Turkey ranges between 15 and 35 percent and is levied against all income. Expats living in Turkey will be subject to paying income tax based on their residency status. Residents of Turkey are liable to pay taxes on their worldwide income (unlimited liability). For tax purposes, any person who lives in Turkey for more than six months in a calendar year is assumed to be a resident. However, foreigners who stay in Turkey for six months or more for a specific job or business, or particular purposes that are not specified in the Income Tax Law are not treated as resident, and therefore not subject to unlimited tax liability. Non-residents are only subject to pay tax on their income derived from within Turkey (limited liability).