In a move likely to cause a lot of controversy in Turkey (and globally,) video game consoles will now be taxed at 50% when purchased.
According to SegmentNext, a translated report from HaberTurk discusses the latest update in Turkey. Specifically, it states that video game consoles will now be slapped with a 50% customs tax as per a focus on customs duty of various imported products. This includes video game consoles.
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The newly imposed tax, which comes via presidential order, will remain in effect until September 30, 2020. On October 1, 2020, the customs tax will be reduced to 20% and will stay as such indefinitely afterward.
While console prices have already been raised by local businesses, thereby making purchasing decisions even more difficult, the high customs tax will likely deter Turkish citizens altogether. COVID-19-related isolation orders were put into effect in Turkey in March, which many people have addressed by entertaining themselves with video games. As such, this option appears to be closed off to those who weren’t wholly determined to purchase a video game console in Turkey.
Given the projected prices of next-gen consoles (minimum $500,) it would be most desirable for the PS5 and Xbox Series X to arrive after the reduced tax. Considering that “holiday season” release dates have been thrown around, it’s likely that the 50% tax will be reduced by then. Even still, 20% is still a mighty tax on a product already fairly expensive to begin with.
Motivations are unclear regarding the tax, though part of it may have to do with the shutdown. As governments are likely not getting as much revenue from their normal systems, other methods of taxation will likely be sought out and implemented as a counter-measure to continue a steady stream of revenue. Death and taxes are the only two things guaranteed in life, after all.
Of course, this is speculative. But Turkey’s decision to target video game consoles in specific is rather poor timing given that gaming is now a staple outlet for those in isolation at home. Hopefully, other countries don’t necessarily grab onto its coattails, as gaming is a fantastic go-to for much of the world’s population during this crisis.
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