Unable to find furniture we liked in Fethiye and faced with replacing electrical goods again from scratch we looked into bringing all our worldly possessions with us to our new home in Fethiye. We discovered that it wouldn’t cost that much more to have the whole household shipped so away we went and organised it.

Was It Worth It?

At the time we thought that we were unique as most other people we know who have moved abroad have either let their houses completely furnished, or have sold and given away their household items and started afresh over here.  (We have since discovered from the Turkish shippers that ours was an average load and that we were not unusual at all!).

We thought we had done our homework pretty thoroughly.  We scanned all the websites that dealt with moving to Turkey, we used a reputable remover and shipper to handle the moving,

So, we thought, all we need to do is sit back and await the arrival of our things at our new home.  However, it wasn’t until our neighbours, who were also importing their goods, went to Izmir to collect their belongings that we learnt of the Bandroll tax on electrical items. This tax levies a hefty charge on the importation of electrical goods (up to 1,000€ per item) and anything over the allowed one set per household. If you can’t pay the duty then the goods can be confiscated.

Concerned by this news we wrote to the British Embassy in Ankara asking what the processes would be. We received a letter from the British Vice-Consul in due course. They said:

“It may be useful for you to learn that in general terms electrical items purchased in Turkey carry a high percentage of taxation within the sales price.  The Turkish customs authorities have verbally confirmed that foreigners holding a residence permit, who wish to import electrical items must pay duty on these items.  For luxury items, i.e. stereos, TVs, cassette players and radios a band roll tax is applicable.  Turkish Customs have provided as an example from Euro 55-155 for TVs and up to Euro 180 for a stereo.

“In addition you may import all your electrical items i.e. luxury and domestic, which would also incur an importation tax.  This tax is calculated as a percentage of the declared insurance value for shipping purposes, of each item.  Whilst the customs authorities cannot provide specific numbers they have stated that it is not Euro 1,000 per item.  We  asked for a written account  of charges, but were informed that they did not have a document which could be issued to the public, concerning tax charges.

“If you do not wish to formally import your goods, you may, temporarily, import your goods.  To explain:-  for each electrical item you will pay a bond fee set in foreign currency, which is converted to a Turkish Lira value.  If or when you leave the country and take your electrical goods with you, the money you paid will be refunded at the Turkish Lira rate calculated on the day you paid the bond.  Please note the band roll tax as in paragraph three is still applicable.

“Please note that all electrical items classed as luxury items will also be endorsed in your passport.” 

We also received a copy of a FIDI information sheet from our shippers stating that there is:  Duty free import of all used household goods and personal effects:  but, A Bandroll tax is levied on TV Hi-Fi and video equipment and only one electrical set is allowed.  We therefore took the precaution (damage limitation) of having all excess DVD, Video and CD players removed from our packing to be brought over by our summer visitors.

Back to the plot.  We had also been advised (locally) that we would have to travel to Izmir to clear our container through customs personally.  In the event, the Turkish partners of our shippers requested that we send an original passport, an original residence permit and tax card, together with a power of attorney and a certain sum of money, to them and they would deal with it on our behalf, which they did.

It would appear from the letter from them which accompanied our container, that the household goods have been imported for the duration of the residence permit and that it is “mandatory to execute procedures with respect to time extension before … (expiration of residence permit) your duration of your resident permit is to be prolonged.  You may get in touch with our company at least 10 days before the expiry of the period for execution of such a procedure.”  We take this to mean that when the residence permit is extended for a further period we should let them know (presumably by sending the new residence permit) and they will extend the time for the “legal duration of stay of the household goods”!

All good, clean, healthy fun and games.  Well, after all, we have nothing else to do!  Oh yes, and if we do plan to leave the country we must produce the receipt for the monies paid and it will be repaid to us.

Would we do the same thing again?  Probably not since we lived for 5 months without most of the items “we couldn’t live without”.

Oh, and as a postscript – we have, as time has passed, discovered quite a few things missing from our container load.  All my jewellery made it through (surprisingly), but a 62 year old teddy bear and a few of his companions didn’t, two expensive men’s hats didn’t, a pair of brand new HiFi speakers didn’t and some hunting knives didn’t either.  So, if you are thinking of having your household shipped over, make sure that you can trust the removal firm this end to keep watch at the Customs in Izmir!!