Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | October 14, 2013

Establishing a limited company in Turkey: advice from Molly’s Cafe

braveSome people have told me that I was very brave to open a company in Turkey. At the same time, a few other foreigners have asked me how to do it. I set up a company again, so I decided that I would write about it and then refer people to it if they ask me.


chaosFirst, yes, it does require a certain amount of courage, enough to plunge into the seeming chaos of bureaucracy. At the same time, however, it has actually become easier in the past few years. It used to be that foreigners had to invest a lot of money and time, but now the requirements are less. Before last year (2012), a limited company had to have two partners and it was a good idea if one of them were Turkish. In my last company, I had a partner who was American but who had Turkish citizenship. She was a partner only on paper, as she actually had nothing to do with the business. Since the law has changed, my name is the only one on the company. I could have a partner, in case you were wondering, but I don’t choose to.


accountantFirst I have to say that my accountant was very helpful and supportive through all this. He made a list of what I needed to do and occasionally he or his helper accompanied me. I appreciate him a lot!





cdn passportThe first thing I had to do was get my brand new passport translated and taken to the notary. I got two copies of the notarized document. It was 30 lira for the translation and 50 lira each for the documents.





spyThen I had to look for a sort of official copy of my TC number. I found it on the nufus mudurlugu site and printed off the page with my number on it. Foreigners who are resident here have a TC number, though most don’t know it until they need it. Turks have the number also, of course. I also have a tax number, which I just photocopied, both sides of the card.



CIMG0199Since I had rented a place for the café, I had to have a copy of the rental contract. In this case it was a temporary contract, as I had rented it in my own name, with the understanding that I would put it in the company’s name once the company was established.




turkish liraThen I had to have about 5500 lira ready to be spent. 2500 of it was already in my bank account but it had to be blocked until the company was actually set up. After that I could get it unblocked and it was transferred to my new business account.



beyoglu vergi dairesiSome of the running around that my accountant (or his helper) had to do involved going to the tax office, thankfully nearby, to get various documents so I could pay taxes. He also had to go to the Istanbul Ticaret Odasi (Chamber of Commerce) to register my company there. I got a copy of the official gazette from there, as it is necessary for some business things. I also had to go to the noter a couple of times for the imza sirkuler, which involved me signing the document three time. At this point you I was careful to check the spelling of everything relating to my name. The noter ended up costing me at least 700 lira for thises and thats.


kaseAll of these documents are necessary for setting up a bank account and for getting water, electric, and gas into the company’s name. I also needed to get a kase, which is an inked stamp. Sometimes a new account in, for example the bank, will ask for it, and then I sign over it. Some suppliers may also ask for it.




vergi levhasiWhen all was pretty much said and done, I received my vergi levhasi, which shows that there is a registered company. Now I am entitled to pay taxes!



question markIf you don’t speak Turkish, I highly recommend taking a Turkish someone with you. I have been through this before, so I did ok, though not without the occasional ‘efendim?’ It all sounds complicated and it probably is, but with some patience, it gets done and then you are in business.




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