In order to solve the problems occurred due to cash payment of customs taxes, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Customs and Trade decided to develop a joint project. They departed from the principles of commonly usable solution, easy usage, not needing additional personnel, and being reliable; and then they decided that customs taxes could be paid by an electronic money cards called as “Debit Card”. The project was submitted to a public bank, the General Directorate of Foundations Bank (Vakıfbank). As a result of positive approach of the bank to the project, cooperation protocol was signed in 2007 and feasibility studies were initiated. Test and pilot studies were completed in 2008 and full application was started in 2009.
Thanks to the Customs Electronic Payment Card System, it is ensured that declaration based customs taxes, cash warrant and probation, taxes under the respite, all kinds of fine collection resulting from the tax legislation, customs income that are not subject to the declaration such as public officers’ travel allowance, overtime payments, storehouse payment, transportation pass document and scale fee to be collected by electronic money cards called as “debit card” instead of cash money at accounting unit cash points collecting customs income or paymasters’ offices receiving payment on behalf of them. Since these debit cards called as Customs Electronic Payment Card System can be used by entering password in middleware POS devices which are placed in customs and operate in closed cycle, many risks resulting from cash money and block cheque have been eliminated. Since tax ID no control is used in the operation of Customs Electronic Payment Card System, customs tax of only card owner corporation is paid by a card; and this is another security component. Customs Electronic Payment Card application ensure online closure of declarations following collecting accrued taxes in the customs declarations by Customs Electronic Payment Card at accounting unit cash points via online information exchange among the Ministry of Customs and Trade, General Directorate of Public Accounts of Ministry of Finance, and Vakıfbank.
The project ensured integrated working of the Ministry of Customs and Trade, the Ministry of Finance, and banking systems. Accordingly, when accrued taxes in the customs declarations come into the payment stage, personnel of accounting unit connect to the system of the Ministry of Customs and Trade through the system of the Ministry of Finance, inquiry is made by sending registration number of the declaration to be collected, then, information coming from the system of the Ministry of Customs and Trade is transferred to the POS device. The card submitted by card holder is inserted into the POS device and when the card holder enters password, information is transferred to the bank of the card via the POS device. In the event that the bank approves the payment transaction, Receipt Document is printed following receiving conformity by producing Special Number of Receipt to the payment transaction at the accounting unit through Public Expenditure and Accounting Information System (KBS) and a massage for transaction result, informing that the transaction is successful, is sent to the POS device for printing Expenditure Document. Customer copy of the Expenditure Document received from the POS device is given to the card holder together with the Receipt Document. After the payment is concluded, payment information is sent by the system of the Ministry of Finance through connecting to the system of the Ministry of Customs and Trade; and the system of the Ministry of Customs and Trade declaration content provides continuation of the process of the item automatically.
It is seen that three main problems were solved with the realization of the project.
• The necessity of carrying cash money was removed: The necessity of carrying cash money by the tax payers was removed and the opportunity of paying customs taxes and other payments by electronic money cards called as “Debit Card” was introduced. Therefore, difficulty and danger of carrying cash money were eliminated. Since the situations such as keeping cash money in accounting units and transferring were gone away, security need and risk were decreased, and abuses such as using counterfeit money were prevented.
• Work force and time losses of tax payers ended: It was ensured that transactions were conducted faster by preventing time losses in the accounting units in terms of tax payers. Security problems were solved by means of systemic tax number and account control ensured over the card and making transaction via card password.
• Transactions were completed at single point, workforce saving was ensured: Before the introduction of Customs Electronic Payment Card System, tax payers used to pay their customs taxes at the accounting units of the Ministry of Finance and received a receipt in return; then they applied to the directorates of customs with the receipt and made declarations closed manually, thus they could withdrew their dutiable goods from the customs. Since Customs Electronic Payment Card System allowed integrated operation of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Customs and Trade, and banking systems, the declaration is automatically closed when the customs taxes are paid by electronic money card. Therefore, shuttling among institutions was reduced, time loss was prevented by completing customs transactions faster and workforce saving was ensured. Accordingly tax payers’ appreciation has been increased.
• Accounting records were created automatically at the moment of transaction: Before the introduction of Customs Electronic Payment Card System, customs payments were individually recognized manually by accounting units of the Ministry of Finance. Thus, time and workforce losses occurred. With the introduction of Customs Electronic Payment Card System, accounting records were automatically created by a single key and time and workforce loss are not seen now. Moreover, reporting and control are easier than before. Since the system operates online, payment processes of the corporations are completed under their own control, the corporation monitors which customs make transactions by which card spontaneously and can recognize automatically.
An integration providing electronic data transfer among three different institutions was created in the Customs Electronic Payment Card System. Customs declarations are inquired electronically through the automation system of the Ministry of Customs and Trade by the accounting units of the Ministry of Finance; customs taxpayers make payment by Customs Electronic Payment Card after the inquiry is completed thanks to the integration between Vakıfbank and the Ministry of Finance; and then, customs declarations are closed automatically after the payment thanks to the integration between the Ministry of Customs and Trade and the Ministry of Finance.
Differences and innovations of the project are as follows:
• Three different institutional unit transactions (Customs, Bank, and Accounting) were gathered at single point; and taxpayers’ appreciation as well as institutional appreciation was ensured. One of the biggest differences of this project is the completion of automation based transactions spontaneously at a single point.
Customs paymasters’ offices acting in the customs directorates affiliated to the Ministry of Customs and Trade and cashiers working in the accounting units affiliated to the Ministry of Finance are authorized to collection of customs tax and role identification of these authorized officials were made, thus, they could enter into the Customs Electronic Payment Card System with a password. Daily collections of these officials can be inquired in the system spontaneously, and spontaneous accounting and recognition transactions can be made electronically. Making accounting and recognition transactions electronically decreases paymasters’ frequency of shuttling and prevents time loss.
• Instead of keeping collections of paymasters in their own safe or another account, recording in the account of accounting unit: Before the introduction of Customs Electronic Payment Card System, since the payment was made in cash or cheque, paymasters used to keep collections of customs paymasters in a safe where the collection paymasters’ office located and it was risky. After the introduction of Customs Electronic Payment Card System, payments are directly transferred to the collection accounts of the accounting units affiliated to the Ministry of Finance through Vakıfbank which mediates the payment; therefore risk and additional workload of keeping cash in the paymasters’ safe are eliminated.
• Usage 24/7: It is possible to pass through customs in every hour of a day in order to allow nonstop continuance of the dense customs transactions. Customs Electronic Payment Card System operates and makes collection twenty four by seven for not delaying customs transactions.
• Facilitating tax payments in the customs area: Customs Electronic Payment Card System can be used at each one of customs administrations by the customs paymasters. Accordingly, customs taxpayers can pay their taxes by Customs Electronic Payment Card System without going to accounting units; if they wish, the payments can be made via taxpayers or representatives at the accounting units and payment information reaches to the customs directorates spontaneously; then, customs declarations are closed and dutiable items can be withdrawn.
• Safety and speed: Paymasters and cashiers whose role identifications are made in the Customs Electronic Payment Card System can enter into the system with a password due to safety reasons. Tax ID no control and declaration no control are used in the Customs Electronic Payment Card System.
• Effective reporting: Transactions made in the Customs Electronic Payment Card System can be reported on person and user basis and the system ensures transparency and accountability.
• Removal of remittance, cheque, and cash payment necessity: Taxpayers do not have to carry cash and cheque with them since remittance, cheque, and cash payment necessity has been removed by the Customs Electronic Payment Card System. Payments made by electronic money card are important in terms of speed, safety, and taxpayers’ appreciation.
• Quick system and accounting integration: Spontaneous accounting record is produced with a single key automatically in the Customs Electronic Payment Card System.