Research Article

DOI :10.26650/mcd2021-981758   IUP :10.26650/mcd2021-981758    Full Text (PDF)

The Axis Shift in Fines

Mehmet Alpertunga Avci

Pragmatically, legal and fiscal doctrines may diverge by achieving purposes and obtaining benefits with fines. However, the expectation is that fiscal purposes strengthen without preceding the legal ones. Otherwise, the capacity for fines to generate revenue may eclipse their functions to prevent, deter, and correct. In such a case, it becomes difficult to detain high income people for actions breaching the social order, belief in justice and equality erodes, deterrence of fines decreases, and the financial compliance of public debtors weaken. Therefore, a purposeoriented axis shift in fines complicates the act of protecting society frounlawful actions, detention from repetition by correction, and punishment as a warning or deterrent to others. This article propounds on the axis shift in fines from collectability and forecastability. It argues that primary purposes lag behind fiscal ones due to this shift toward the capacity of fines to generate revenue. This study supports the claim above by using the Central Government Budget Statistics of the General Directorate of Accounting for 2007-2020 to evaluate the doctrinal knowledge of current and data-based projection on fines. This study shows a dramatic and consistent decrease in collectability, despite the success in forecastability. Even the expected fiscal purposes are distant, with the axis shift eclipsing the primary objectives. Further research is needed to better understand the ways in which fines can enhance or generate fiscal and legal techniques.

DOI :10.26650/mcd2021-981758   IUP :10.26650/mcd2021-981758    Full Text (PDF)

Para Cezalarında Eksen Kayması

Mehmet Alpertunga Avci

Pragmatik olarak, para cezalarıyla ulaşılmak istenen amaç ve korunan menfaat bakımından hukuki ve mali doktrin ayrışabilir. Ancak beklenti, hukuki amacın önüne geçmeden mali amacın tahkim edici nitelikte olmasıdır. Aksi taktirde para cezalarının gelir yaratma kapasitesi; önleme, caydırma ve uslandırma fonksiyonlarını gölgede bırakabilir. Bu durumda ise yüksek gelirlileri toplumsal düzeni bozucu eylemlerden alıkoymak güçleşir, adalete ve eşitliğe olan inanç zedelenir, cezaların caydırıcılığı azalır ve kamu borçlularının mali uyumu zayıflar. Dolayısıyla para cezalarındaki amaçsal bir eksen kayması; toplumu hukuka aykırı eylemlerden korumayı, ıslah suretiyle tekerrürden alıkoymayı ve başkalarına ibret teşkil etmeyi güçleştirir. Bu makale; para cezalarındaki eksen kaymasını, tahsil ve tahmin kabiliyeti perspektifinde ortaya koymayı amaçlamaktadır. Çalışma, para cezalarının gelir yaratma kapasitesine temayül eden bu eksen kayması nedeniyle asli amacın mali amacın gerisinde kaldığını iddia etmektedir. Doktriner bilginin güncel ve veriye dayalı izdüşümünü değerlendirmek ve anılan iddiayı desteklemek için Muhasebat Genel Müdürlüğü’nün 2007-2020 dönemine ilişkin “Merkezi Yönetim Bütçe İstatistikleri”nden yararlanılmıştır. Tahmin kabiliyetindeki başarıya rağmen, tahsil kabiliyetinde dramatik ve istikrarlı düşüş olduğu, asli amacı gölgeleyen eksen kaymasıyla beklenen mali amacın çok uzağında olunduğu sonucuna ulaşılmıştır. Para cezalarının nasıl işlediğini daha iyi anlamak, yeni mali ve hukuki teknikler geliştirip oluşturabilmek için bu alanda daha fazla araştırmaya ihtiyaç bulunmaktadır.


What is the primary purpose of fines? Fundamentally, is social order protected, or is additional revenue provided through them? Responses from average individuals, intellectuals, and practitioners differ as to favored interests. Individuals who abide by the rules count fines as essential catalysts, protecting their interests and ensuring social order, while those who violate the rules consider the regulations restrictive and prohibitive. Intellectuals approach the issue with a penal or financial doctrine. Practitioners describe fines as a policy tool by the economic, social, and political situation. Understandably, people from every walk of life may diversely evaluate fines when protecting different interests. However, to serve their primary purposes, fines should suit the principles of individual responsibility, legality, proportionality, severability, and reparability. In Turkey, the situation partially diverges, so their primary purposes may become secondary and their efficiency questionable. It is easy to state that almost mutually exclusive views of fiscal and legal doctrines cause this question to be raised. Hence, instead of their primary purposes, fines are likely considered fiscal lifeboats in countries experiencing financial bottlenecks. In such a case, experiencing a purpose-oriented axis shift in fines becomes unavoidable. 

This article focuses on whether fines count as accurate, permanent, consistent, and predictable public revenue or a purpose-oriented axis shift. By looking at fines’ deviation in collectability and success in forecastability, this study argues the existing priority is on fiscal purposes, emphasizing a deviation from primary purposes; fiscality is an implied, but current, reality. This study is composed of three parts. The first part assesses and collects general budget revenues (GPRs) within the efficiency of income-driven policies and affecting factors. The second section provides legal definitions, makes budgetary classifications, and analyzes GPRs’ collectability/forecastability with tables based on the Central Government Budget Statistics of the General Directorate of Accounting from 2007–2020. The final part covers the legality and primary purposes of fines, expounds on the purpose-oriented relationship between fines and externalities, and discusses their revenue generation capacity (RGC). 

Firstly, the summarized findings show the average analysis results on GPRs in 14 years, forecastability is consistent at 102.3%, while collectability steadily weakens every year and remains at 71.4%. The contradiction in these parameters strengthens the inferential consequence of target-oriented revenue collection planning. Second, by focusing on RGC, fines are regarded as public revenues at the risk of weakening their primary purposes. Third, tax fines have a higher assessment share than others via low tax compliance; however, administrative fines’ collection share increases and almost becomes a deterrent for fiscal purposes. Fourth, the general share of all assessed fines increase steadily and is well above the general budget target; however, this is in line with their low total collection share. Finally, the average target and collection share became precisely the same (1.7%) in 14 years, strengthening the critical conclusion that assessed fines are not followed up and collected after the budget target is met. 

Collectability and forecastability provide another perspective for identifying the axis shift. Firstly, collectability is critical for detecting and measuring fines’ purpose-oriented aspect, RGC, and deterrence efficiency. The average collectability of total fines in 14 years remained at 11.3%, whereas this average was 52.3% in other fines, 33.5% in administrative fines, 16.4% in judicial fines, and 9.3% in tax fines. This raises the question of how preventive, deterrent, corrective, and regulative fines are mentioned on such an occasion. Secondly, there is an apparent success in forecastability considering the collectability weakness mentioned above. The average forecastability of total fines in 14 years was 108.4%, whereas it reached 126.2% in administrative fines, 110.9% in tax fines, 98.7% in judicial fines, and 98.1% in other fines. It is ironic to encounter a failure in collectability as a dependent variable hinging upon administrative decisions coupled with success in forecastability as an uncontrollable independent variable. This circumstance also confirms that fines collected to meet the budget target emphasize their financial potential and productivity rather than their primary purposes. Therefore, collectability in fines is an essential issue that is easier to access than forecastability. In contrast, the analytical conclusion in the opposite direction indicates that fiscal purposes overtake the primary ones.

Today it is still doctrinally controversial whether fines are regular sources of public revenue. However, unattainable fiscal purposes employing unrealistic target-oriented approaches, weakness in collectability affected with different factors, and focus discrepancy in forecast and collection result in overshadowed legal purposes, creating a purpose-oriented axis shift in fines. Indeed, prioritizing the fiscal purposes of fines to prevent the embodiment of primary ones is essentially an executive decision and policy action. The natural expectation with this choice is to increase public revenues by enhancing collectability. However, the analyzed official data indicates that the axis shift does not contribute to RGC or reinforce their primary purposes.  

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Avci, M.A. (2021). The Axis Shift in Fines. Journal of Public Finance Studies, 0(66), 19-49.


Avci M A. The Axis Shift in Fines. Journal of Public Finance Studies. 2021;0(66):19-49.


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Published Online12.10.2021


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