Evaluations on the Earnings Exemption for Social Content Creation and Application Development for Mobile Devices

Nowadays, online environments are no longer just a means of socialising, but have become platforms for generating substantial profits. Therefore, it has become inevitable for social media and the activities carried out on these platforms to enter the tax radar.

The Income Tax General Communiqué numbered 318 serial numbered 318, published in the Official Gazette dated 12 January 2022 and numbered 31717, has been on the agenda with an innovation that closely concerns those who produce content on social media and develop mobile applications. According to the Communiqué, the earnings obtained from the activities of social content producers who share content such as text, image, audio, video over social network providers on the internet, and the earnings to be obtained by persons who develop applications for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets through electronic application sharing and sales platforms will be exempt from income tax, effective from 1 January 2022. However, there are certain conditions to benefit from this exemption.


Taxpayers are required to apply to the ‘tax office authorised for taxation’ in the place of their residence and obtain an ‘Exemption Certificate’ regarding their activities. It is also stipulated that the persons who will receive an Exemption Certificate must open an account in one of the banks established in Turkey and carry out all revenues related to their activities through this account channel, and it is ruled that the bank withholds income tax at the rate of 15% on the revenues transferred to the accounts opened within this scope. If an existing bank account is to be used, the exemption certificate stating that the account will be used for this purpose should be submitted to the bank and it has become an obligation to notify the tax office in writing within one month. In case of opening a new account, the aforementioned transactions must be carried out within one month from the opening of the account.

In addition, the existence of earnings arising from any other activity does not prevent the utilisation of the exemption. To concretise, a social content producer who is not a taxpayer in terms of commercial income will be able to obtain an exemption certificate, while a taxpayer who is a taxpayer in terms of commercial income but has an additional activity that falls within the scope of the exemption will also be able to obtain an exemption certificate.

At this point, it should be noted that if it is understood that the conditions for the exemption are not met, the under-accrued tax must be paid together with the default interest by imposing a tax loss penalty. In order to benefit from the exemption, a monetary limit has also been introduced. Whether this amount is exceeded or not will be evaluated separately as of the end of each calendar year and for each year, and it is 880.000 TL for the year 2022.

Regardless of the amount determined, taxpayers engaged in activities that meet the exemption conditions will be exempt from the obligations such as book certification, bookkeeping, registration to the book-declaration system and electronic bookkeeping and document issuance.

Taxpayers who subsequently lose or violate the conditions to benefit from the exemption within the relevant calendar year will not be able to benefit from the exemption for the relevant year and will be obliged to submit an annual income tax return for all of the earnings obtained. However, failure to benefit from the exemption in the relevant year does not constitute an obstacle for the following years.


While defining the social content producer, the Communiqué uses the following expressions: ‘A real person who earns any kind of income as a result of content production activity, especially those who earn income by influencing other users to purchase a product or service by making promotions and recommendations through social network providers by sharing posts on any subject, and those who receive a share of advertising revenues through the monitoring of their posts’.

A mobile application developer is defined as ‘a natural person who develops applications for the purpose of operating on electronic application sharing and sales platforms and offers the applications he/she has developed to the service of users on these platforms’. At this point, while revenues such as paid application sales revenue, advertising revenue, in-app sales, sponsorship, paid subscription revenue obtained through the relevant platforms are within the scope of the exemption, earnings other than electronic application sharing and sales platforms will not be evaluated.

In case the developed application is not intended for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets, the exemption will not be utilised.

Social network providers are defined within the scope of the Communiqué as ‘real or legal persons who enable users to create, view or share content such as text, image, audio, video, etc. on the internet for social interaction purposes’, and in this sense, activities carried out on platforms such as personal websites, electronic commerce websites and news websites are not included in the scope. In addition, only income taxpayers are included in the scope of the exemption, and it is also regulated that corporate taxpayers cannot benefit.


In today’s world where electronic media and social media hold the power, it is certain that there will be more regulations on related issues. At this point, it is of great importance to be able to stay up to date, to catch up with the present and to interpret it. In our opinion, this Communiqué, which we have tried to explain in general, is only the beginning and will evolve into a field that we will encounter frequently in the future.