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Treaty between Switzerland and Turkey – details — Orbitax Tax News & Alerts

Details of the income tax treaty and protocol between Switzerland and Turkey, signed on 22 May 2008, have become available. The treaty was concluded in the French, Turkish and English languages, each text having equal authenticity. In case of divergence, the English text shall prevail. The treaty generally follows the OECD Model Convention.

The maximum rates of withholding tax are:

-   15% on dividends in general and 5% if paid to a company (other than a partnership) which holds directly at least 20% of the capital of the company paying the dividends;
-   10% on interest in general, subject to exceptions; and 5% on interest paid on loans secured by governmental institutions responsible for export promotion; and
-   10% on royalties.

The treaty permits both states to levy a branch profits tax up to a maximum of 5%. However, in case of Turkey, the 5% rate is applicable only if the profits are exempt in Switzerland; otherwise, the rate is 15%.

Deviations from the OECD Model include that:

-   a permanent establishment (Art. 5) includes (i) a building site, a construction, assembly or installation project or connected supervisory activities if they last for more than 6 months and (ii) the furnishing of professional services, including consultancy services, by an enterprise through employees or other personnel engaged by the enterprise for this purpose if the activities of that nature continue on the same or a connected project in a state for a period or periods aggregating more than 6 months in any 12-month period;
-   the treaty contains an Art. 14 on independent personal services modelled on the UN Model Covention. Thus, independent personal services are taxable in the source state if the individual has a fixed base or is present there for a term period exceeding 183 days within any 12 months period, in as much as those services are attributable to such fixed base or performance; and
-   Art. 17 on income of artists and sportsmen does not apply if the visit to the other state is substantially supported by the public funds of one or both states, or local authorities thereof.

Switzerland generally provides for the exemption-with-progression method to avoid double taxation. The exemption of certain capital gains (Art. 13(4)) requires effective taxation of said capital gains in Turkey (Art. 22(1)(a)). The credit method is applicable with respect to dividends, interest and royalties.

Turkey generally provides for the credit method to avoid double taxation.