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Promoting peace in the pandemic

In partnership with its global Citizenship partner PeaceTech Lab, Hogan Lovells has taken an innovative approach to combat violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Driven by research and the use of technology, the firm has supported PeaceTech Lab to launch the COVID-19 Violence Tracker, a new resource for policymakers, activists, and crisis response professionals to track and better respond to violence resulting from the current pandemic.

Over 120 lawyers from Hogan Lovells offices around the world have so far participated in the project, which aims to catalogue and highlight incidents and assist the vulnerable around the world. Incidents logged on the tracker include threats and physical harm, excessive force by police, governments and vigilantes, domestic abuse, xenophobia and the confiscation or abuse of essential resources as the virus spread worldwide.

Early findings indicate that countries with low infection rates of COVID-19 had a rise in deaths related to police brutality rather than the disease itself. In addition, the xenophobia, race-based attacks and abuse on Asian communities were increasingly perpetuated not only by individuals, but also by institutions, governments, businesses and the media.

Amy Roma, partner at Hogan Lovells, said: “The findings from this research have been very informative. It is disturbing that COVID-19 is being used as an excuse to discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities, prompt hate speech and expose racial injustices, but with clear data in hand showing these trends connected to the pandemic, it’s easier to work with organizations to prevent the violence from continuing and to promote peace.”

PeaceTech Lab CEO Sheldon Himelfarb added: “What we’re learning from tracking the relationship between the virus and the violence is a real wake up call for policymakers and local leaders alike, who need to commit additional essential resources to address the political, social, and economic fallout from the disease. Just as we all have a role to play in preventing the spread of the virus, we must all play a part in bringing peace to our communities.”

Lower Taxes Without Renouncing Your American Citizenship

Being born in the United States comes with many privileges. But it also comes with many responsibilities. According to Fortunly’s insightful infographic, the United States is one of two countries in the world that implement citizenship-based taxation. The only other one is the northeast African nation of Eritrea.

Interestingly enough, America’s citizenship-based tax system doesn’t only affect its natural-born citizens. Foreigners may also be held liable for income tax if they meet the country’s residency requirements. Spending too much vacation time is a common reason why non-Americans might need to hand over some cash to Uncle Sam.

But, there are legal ways to beat America’s citizenship-based income taxation system.

The most obvious way is to renounce your US citizenship. But this is a major decision that could lead to dramatic consequences. An alternative to such a drastic measure is filing for tax exemptions. The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) is a viable option for American professionals who intend to make a living outside of any US territory.

With the FEIE, a portion of a citizen’s total active income can be excluded up to a certain limit, which changes every year. To increase the excludable amount, a foreign housing credit can be added into the equation.

When it comes to income from passive activities like stock trading, the United States considers them taxable as usual. However, there are ways to classify passive incomes as active in order to render them partly excludable.

In addition, using an offshore company to run a business may provide an income-tax reduction. This move can legally separate an American-citizen owner and a business entity for tax purposes.

Pursuing every allowable avenue to minimize citizenship-based income tax liabilities is more practical than unpatriotic.

Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by Foreign Investment

The Regulation of Implementation of the Turkish Citizenship Law (“Regulation”) has been amended by Presidential Decree No:106 effective from the date of publishing which is 19.09.2018. In accordance with the Turkish Citizenship Law No:5901 (“Law”), Regulation enables foreign investors to acquire Turkish Citizenship exceptionally by investment ways as below:

  1. to make fixed capital investment worth minimum 500.000 USD, equivalent foreign currency or equivalent amount of TL, to undertake not to transfer the company for following three years and to have the investment determined by the Ministry of Industry and Technology,
  2. to purchase real estate worth minimum 250.000 USD, equivalent foreign currency or equivalent amount of TL, to put an annotation onto the title deed stating that property shall not be sold in the following three years and to have the investment determined by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanism,
  3. to sign preliminary sales contract intended for the real estate, which has construction servitude or condominium registration, worth minimum 250.000 USD, equivalent foreign currency or equivalent amount of TL and to make the such payment in advance, to put an annotation states that preliminary sales contract shall not be transferred or abandoned for following three years onto the title deed and to have the investment determined by the Ministry of Environment and Urbanism,
  4. to employ minimum fifty employees and have such employment determined by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services,
  5. to deposit minimum USD 500.000 USD, equivalent foreign currency or the equivalent amount of TL in banks operating in Turkey and to undertake not to withdraw the deposit for the following three years and to have such barred deposit determined by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency,
  6. to purchase public borrowing instruments worth minimum USD 500.000 USD, equivalent foreign currency or the equivalent amount of TL and to undertake keeping the instruments for following three years and to have the investment determined by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance,
  7. to purchase real estate investment trust or venture capital fund shares worth minimum 500.000 USD, equivalent foreign currency or the equivalent amount of TL and to undertake keeping the instruments for following three years and to have the investment determined by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.

Ministry of Interior, General Directorate of Civil Registration and Citizenship has published Instruction of Procedures and Principles Regarding Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship by Foreign Investors (“Instruction”) which regulates the process of the application. The Instruction foresees that exclusive/joint offices shall be established in Ankara and Istanbul. Officers of General Directorate of Civil Registration and Citizenship, General Directorate of Migration Management and Determination Institutions shall provide the services in conjunction.

  • Applicants completed the investment according the Regulation, shall apply for Certificate of Conformity to the Determination Institutions. Obtaining the Certificate of Conformity allows the applicants apply for citizenship and residency permit referred to in article 31/j of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection No:6458 with joint documents. Application for citizenship shall be made to the Exclusive/Joint Offices with granted residency permit and required documents for citizenship. Required documents are as follows:
  • Applicant’s passport as translated and notarized. (should cover ID information, photograph and all the pages of entrances and leaves)
  • In case of statelessness, documents which certifies statelessness (As translated, notarized and authorized by the Turkish Consulate or by Apostille)
  • Birth Certificate or any official document covers applicant’s birth date/birth place/parents’ name information such as identity register copy. (As translated, notarized and authorized by the Turkish Consulate or by Apostille)
  • In the event of lack of birth date information; signed declaration to recognize Turkish Civil Registry Services Act’s authorization)
  • Certificate states applicant’s civil status such as married, divorced or widowed: Marriage Certificate, Divorce Certificate, Death Certificate. (As translated, notarized and authorized by the Turkish Consulate or by Apostille)
  • If applicant is married; identity register copy or similar document proves the family bond of spouse and children (As translated, notarized and authorized by the Turkish Consulate or Apostille)
  • If the child is in the guardianship of one parent; document states consent of the other parent as translated and notarized/certified by the authorized officer in Turkey, or document states consent of the other parent admitted from foreign representative offices/authorized institutions as translated, notarized and authorized by the Turkish Consulate/Apostille
  • Criminal record (in case of request)
  • 6 biometric photos (must be taken within last 6 months, regulated by ICAO, 50×60 mm size, white background, without pattern)
  • Receipt of Application Fee
  • Health Insurance
  • The Certificate of Conformity

Certificate of Conformity granted by the pertinent Authority is required to complete the application file as a determination of the investment. In acquisition of Turkish Citizenship through real estate purchase procedure, an application to authorized Directorate of Land Registry which is related to Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, shall be made to obtain a Certificate of Conformity. This document purports to indicate that the monetary value of the real estate purchase has exceeded the threshold figure of 250.000USD, and a record has been entered into land registry record stating that the ownership status shall not change for a period of three years.

In acquisition of Turkish Citizenship through bank deposit, an application to Department of Financial Consumer Relations of the Banking Regulatory Authority, shall be made to obtain a Certificate of Conformity purports to indicate that, 500.000 USD or equivalent amount of other currencies have already been deposited at a bank operating in Turkey and a record has been entered into the bank account inhibiting the withdrawal of the money for a period of three years.

Foreign investors who had been granted with the Turkish Citizenship should meet abovementioned requirements for the duration which has stated in the Regulation. In case the investor fails to maintain such requirements, determination institutions would notify General Directorate of Civil Registration and Citizenship and General Directorate of Migration Management. Subsequently, citizenship status shall be revoked in accordance with article 31 of the Law.