Articles

SUSPENSION PERIOD OF CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE-TAX PROCEEDINGS HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO JUNE 15, 2020

Gözde SARUHAN 13/05/2020

Attorney at law & Mediator

Managing Senior Associate - NAZALI Legal-Tax Services

 

The economic and social impacts of the new coronavirus ("COVID 19"), which emerged in Wuhan-China in December/2019, occur at an unprecedented level comparing to crises experienced before.

Within this scope, as a precaution for prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey, the time limits in legal proceedings are suspended until April 30, 2020. The General Assembly of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (“TBMM”) enacted this measure through the Amendments to Certain Laws (“Law No. 7226“) on March 25, 2020[1].

Also on April 30, 2020 the President of the Turkish Republic issued the “The Degree to Extend the Suspension Period to Prevent the Loss of Legal Rights” (“Decree”) and under the Decree, the suspension of time limits in legal proceedings has been extended again from April 30, 2020 to June 15, 2020.

 

Key Words: Covid-19, Law No.7226, Suspension Period, Legal Rights.

 

INTRODUCTION

The Law No. 7226 introduced lots of protections to make easy the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 in Turkey. The mentioned regulation also aims to prevent the loss of legal rights due to COVID-19.

Within this scope,

  • All time limits regarding the origination, exercise and termination of any rights, including but not limited to the statute of limitations, peremptory terms for filing legal actions, initiation enforcement proceedings, caveat notices, submissions, complaints and objections; time limits regulated under the Code of Administrative Procedure, the Criminal Procedure Law and the Code of Civil Procedure and time limits in mediation and reconciliation proceedings are suspended as of March 13, 2020 to April 30, 2020.
  • Time limits specified in the Enforcement and Bankruptcy Law and other laws related to enforcement proceedings, and time limits determined by judges or enforcement and bankruptcy offices within this scope; and all pending enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings, expect those commenced for child support payments, new enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings and interim attachment proceedings are suspended from March 22, 2020 until April 30, 2020.

 

The Law No.7226 also regulates that if the pandemic continues, the President of the Turkish Republic can extend the suspension period in question once and narrow its scope. This extension period cannot exceed six (6) months.

 

I. Law No. 7226

In accordance to the Law No.7226[2], all time limits (regarding the origination, exercise and termination of any rights, including but not limited to the statute of limitations, peremptory terms for filing legal actions, commencing enforcement proceedings, warnings, notices, submissions, complaints and objections) are suspended from March 13, 2020 until April 30, 2020.

The time limits will start to run the day after the suspension period ends on April 30, 2020. The time limits that expire in 15 days or less as of the suspension period will end in 15 days as of April 30, 2020.

To explain with an example; the company received the tax assessments on March 10, 2020 via the e-notification system. As is known, a notice is deemed to have been communicated to the taxpayer at the end of the fifth day following the electronic delivery of notice. Due to fact that the time limits are suspended from March 13, 2020; the time to file a lawsuit or apply the reconciliation procedure are also suspended.

The process will be schematized as below:

 

Although the Law No. 7226 aims to prevent loss of rights, the specific times are excluded, such as:

  • time limits stipulated under the relevant laws for crimes and punishments, misdemeanours and administrative sanctions, and disciplinary imprisonments and preventive detentions;
  • time limits stipulated under the Criminal Procedure Law for precautionary measures; and
  • time limits stipulated under the Code of Civil Procedure for transactions regarding the completions of interim injunctions.

Payments made during the suspension period will be accepted and the parties can request that actions in favour of the other party be taken.

On the other hand, if the sales (sale of seized assets) day declared by the enforcement and bankruptcy offices regarding goods or rights corresponds to a date during the suspension period, then, after the suspension period ends, the enforcement and bankruptcy offices will announce the sales day without parties’ request in that regard.

Although the Law No. 7226 stipulates that the regulations cover all periods regarding the creation, use or termination of a right; there is no specific regulation/explanation regarding the reconciliation and arbitration process. We are of the opinion that because of the legislator (TBMM)’s aim is to prevent loss of rights; application process to the reconciliation and arbitration are also suspended.

 

II. The Degree to Extend the Suspension Period to Prevent the Loss of Legal Rights

The Law No. 7226 regulates that if the pandemic continues, the President of the Turkish Republic can extend the suspension period in question once and narrow its scope. This extension period cannot exceed six months.

On April 30, 2020, the President of the Turkish Republic issued the Decree[3] and under the Decree, the suspension of time limits in legal proceedings (excluding the time limits regarding mandatory administrative remedies regulated under the Public Procurement Law) has been extended from April 30, 2020 to June 15, 2020.

When consider the previous example, the new situation will be schematized as below:

 

The Decree allows the President of the Turkish Republic to re-evaluate the suspension period based on the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The time limits will start to run the day after the suspension period ends on June 15, 2020 (June 16, 2020). The time limits that expire in 15 days or less as of the suspension period, will end 15 days after June 15, 2020.

 

CONCLUSION

COVID-19 has substantially affected all countries in way of economically and socially. Within the scope of the measures taken under the Law, almost the time limitations in legal proceedings, with exceptions, are suspended until June 15, 2020 in order to prevent any right loss.

Time limits will start to run by the end of the suspension period. However, if a time limit is to expire in 15 days or less as of the initiation of the suspension period, then such time limits will end on June 30, 2020.

 


[1] The Law No. 7226 was published in the Official Gazette on March 26, 2020.

[2] https://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2020/03/20200326M1-1.htm

[3] https://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2020/04/20200430-1.pdf