Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘VAT’

3rd October 2017

It recently came to the attention of the administration of this web log that the Royal Thai Gazette has recently published an announcement regarding changes to the methodology in which Value Added Tax (VAT) is calculated in Thailand. Below please find an English translation of this announcement:

Page 6

Book 134 Part 102 Kor                         Royal Thai Government Gazette                  2 October 2017

(Official Emblem)


Issued under the Revenue Code

Regarding Value Added Tax Rate Reduction (No. 646)

B.E.2560 (2017)


His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun,

Given on 30 September 2017

of the second year in the present reign.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun is graciously pleased to proclaim that:

Whereas it is appropriate to adjust the Value Added Tax Rate Reduction.

By virtue of Section 175 of Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand and Section 80 of the Revenue Code which amended by Revenue Code Amendment Act (No. 30) B.E. 2534 (1991) Be it; therefore, enacted by His Majesty the King, as follows:

Section 1. This Royal Decree shall be called the “Royal Decree under the Revenue Code, regarding Value Added Tax Rate Reduction (No. 646) B.E.2560 (2017)”

Section 2. This Royal Decree shall come into force on and from the date of 1st October B.E.2560 (2017).

Section 3. The order of the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order No. 65/2559 on the Reduction of Value Added Tax Rate dated on 1st November B.E.2559 (2016) shall be repealed.

Section 4. There shall be reduced the Value Added Tax Rate in accordance with Section 80 of the Revenue Code and shall withhold at the following details;

(1) In the rate of 6.3 percent of sale, service or import in all kind thereof which shall be effective from the date of 1st October B.E.2560 (2017) to 30th September B.E.2561 (2018).

(2) In the rate of 9 percent of sale, service or import in all kind thereof which shall be effective on and from the date of 1st October B.E.2561 (2018).

Section 5. The Minister of Finance shall have the care and charge of this Royal Decree.


Colonel-General Prayut Chan-o-cha

Prime Minister


For those interested in viewing the Thai version of the original announcement please click HERE to go to the view the PDF from official website of the Royal Thai Gazette. Please note that this translation is provided for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as a definitive legal interpretation of Thai law.

Two provisions are notable within this announcement, the first is that the VAT is to be lowered from 7% to 6.3% for the next year. Meanwhile, from October of 2018 onward the effective VAT tax rate is apparently to be 9%. This is an overall increase from the current rate of 7% which was the rate prior to the recent announcement.

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21st September 2017

In recent weeks various sources have discussed the changes to tax policy in Thailand, specifically with reference to changes in the excise tax regime. Specifically, with regard to excise tax (also described by some as a “sin tax”) there was discussion before the new measures were implemented concerning the possibility that the new taxes would be relatively significant. Ultimately, events have transpired which has shown that the new measures have not resulted in a substantial increase in terms of taxes passed on to the consumer. The increased taxes have turned out to be rather nominal, but the methodology by which taxes are calculated has changed. Therefore, the end consumer may not see much of a change, but those further up-stream in terms of distribution are dealing with issues associated with the new calculation method.

Meanwhile, other recent measures have taken effect throughout 2017 which is changing the way revenue collection and tax enforcement is conducted. First, it appears that there will be an increase in VAT (Value Added Tax) placed upon items purchased online in Thailand. It appears Thai officials are keen to increase revenues from the digital economy. In the past, the revenue collection system of Thailand was geared to deal with tax collection in a manner more suitable to the pre-internet online economy. Where once there were a number of exemptions for online purchases now those exemptions are being phased out as revenue authorities are coming to grips with the fact that more economic transactions are occurring online.

Finally, it is worth noting that so-called e-filing of certain corporate tax documentation is now mandatory in Thailand. Paperwork such as the audited financial statement are required to be filed online. To those with experience dealing with tax matters in other jurisdictions this new requirement may seem long past due as many other jurisdictions have conducted such matters online for years (in some cases decades). However this development has only come to pass in Thailand in 2017. In the future it appears likely that many corporate tax filings will be perfected online.

In conclusion, all of the above information, when taken together, illustrates a trend which has been progressing for a few years now. Namely, an drive to increase the efficiency and improve the methodology by which taxes are assessed and collected in Thailand. It seems logical to infer that this trend will culminate in the full transformation of the Thai tax system and that said system will be thereafter much more similar to internal revenue services in countries in the more developed world. This will likely occur before the back drop of an increasingly dynamic Thai economic and it seems sensible to expect that revenue to Thai state coffers will increase thereby.

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24th April 2017

In recent weeks it has come to this blogger’s attention that some significant changes with respect to the duration of leases in Thailand have been not only proposed, but are apparently nearing a point where they might be implemented. While The Nation has taken note of the fact that various stakeholders in the Thai real estate sector have welcomed the possibility of 99 year leases for foreign investors in the Thailand property market (a proposal which has many restrictions in and of itself, including the requirements that such lease may only be possible in large industrial developments operating with the proposed Eastern Economic Corridor or EEC). Meanwhile the Bangkok Post has reported that various activist groups in Thailand are opposed to the proposal that 99 year leases be implemented. In this blogger’s view the more important issue is the fact that the implementation of new laws regarding Thai commercial leases appears very near at hand. To quote directly from the aforementioned Bangkok Post article:

[T]he government approved the land rental extension to 99 years, a policy change that will affect about 10 million people who are in need of land, he said. The cabinet’s resolution was made in a bid to promote the eastern special economic development zone to draw international investment linking the country more closely to the Asean community and beyond…

It should be reiterated that the leases at issue are of a commercial nature and appear only to be possible within specified zones, but the change is notable since for years 30 year leases were the norm in Thailand and the recent changes seem to mark a substantial shift in policy thinking. It should be noted that recently proposed changes may make it possible for foreign nationals to obtain a 50 year lease in Thailand on residential property. Clearly, all of these developments bode well for those wishing to invest in the Thailand property market.

Not everything is developing in a positive manner for everyone with respect to the use of real estate in Thailand. In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of clamor arising from the fact that officials affiliated with the Thai government have announced plans to severely curtail, if not outright ban, street food vendors in the Kingdom. To quote a recent article on the Voice of America website quoting an assistant to the Governor of Bangkok:

“The street vendors have seized the pavement space for too long and we already provide them space to sell food and other products legally in the market,” the assistant said. “So there will be no let-up in this operation – every street vendor will have to move out.”

It should be noted that what may appear to be “street food vendors” may in fact just be sellers of food in an open air environment, but occurring on private property in Thailand. Therefore, this blogger does not expect that outdoor dining on traditional Thai fare will disappear any time soon. However, it seems logical to infer that street vendors will likely be making deals with owners of Bangkok property to use their land in order to sell food. A question posed by many: why are authorities in Thailand doing this? Many of those posing this question do so for different reasons. Some note that street food is part of the tapestry of Bangkok life. Meanwhile, others note that restricting street food could have a detrimental impact upon tourism. Although this blogger does not necessarily agree with all of the restrictions being proposed with respect to street food two things should be noted. First, the thoroughfares of Bangkok have a tendency to become crowded and street food vendors had more than a tendency to exacerbate this crowding. Second, Thai authorities have continued to note issues related to the raising of government revenue and it is this blogger’s opinion that the restrictions on street food may be the government’s initiative to, at least indirectly, encourage some vendors to engage in the more regulated economy. The Value Added Tax accounts for a significant portion of Thailand’s overall revenue. Therefore, if authorities can encourage more businesses to become part of the VAT system then it stands to reason that the government could raise further revenue. This blogger knows for a fact that there are those street vendors who do pay VAT, but the percentage of such individuals in relation to the overall number of street vendors is quite small. Therefore, it seems likely that while on the one hand Thai authorities are making the streets in Bangkok more easily accessible the upshot may be a benefit to government coffers in the long run.

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11th March 2017

It recently came to the attention of the administration of this web log that the subject of the Value Added Tax (VAT) has been a hot news item in Thailand in recent days as the current Prime Minister was noted speculating about the advantages to be gained by the Thai government if the VAT were to be raised one percentage point from the current level of 7% to 8%. To quote directly from The Nation’s website:

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has floated the idea of raising the value-added tax (VAT) rate by one percentage point from the current 7 per cent to 8 per cent to raise an additional Bt100 billion in annual tax revenues to finance various public projects.

Meanwhile, it became unclear from further reports whether the Prime Minister was simply expounding upon the advantages to be gained by an increase in VAT or if a change of policy was being discussed. To quote from the official website of the Bangkok Post:

Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said the government plans to keep VAT unchanged at 7% for another year when the previous extension of the last period for keeping VAT at 7% ends on Sept 30. VAT would not increase during the term of this government, he added.

Setting aside the issue of what the Prime Minister’s intentions were with respect to his comments regarding VAT increase (and it would appear from this writer’s perspective that he was indeed simply commenting upon the benefits to be garnered by the government should VAT be increased to 8%) it appears that at least for the foreseeable future the VAT in Thailand will not be increased.

For those who have had experience doing business in Thailand VAT is known as a fact of business-life. In fact, those foreign nationals wishing to setup a Company in Thailand are well advised to note that in order to get a Thai work permit associated with such companies the relevant corporate entity oftentimes must be registered for VAT. Therefore, unlike Thai businesses which may or may not require VAT registration, foreign companies in Thailand will often be VAT registered and therefore an increase in VAT will have a substantial impact upon such enterprises.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of recent changes to American policy with respect to US Immigration it appears that a number of new Immigration Judges have been impaneled to deal with the staggering backlog of United States Immigration cases in the Immigration Courts. To quote directly from Reuters News Service:

The Department of Justice is deploying 50 judges to immigration detention facilities across the United States, according to two sources and a letter seen by Reuters and sent to judges on Thursday. The department is also considering asking judges to sit from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., split between two rotating shifts, to adjudicate more cases, the sources said. A notice about shift times was not included in the letter.

Clearly, the new Administration in the USA is stringently enforcing immigration laws as evidenced by the recent stories of increased deportations, travel bans, and heightened scrutiny of immigrants (both Green Card holders and other immigrants) at ports of entry in the USA. It seems rather reasonable to infer that US Immigration matters are likely to be more difficult and time consuming to process in coming weeks and months.

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29th September 2009

There are many expatriates living in the Kingdom of Thailand who opt to run their own business(es). In cases where the expat is not married to a Thai national, then it is highly likely that a Thai business visa will be used in order to remain in the Kingdom long term. A somewhat tongue-in-cheek question that often arises in the context of Thai business is: why do I need to pay my taxes? Although no one actually expects to be granted some sort of tax amnesty, the fact remains that no one really relishes paying taxes. It can be even more difficult when one takes into account the fact that Thailand is predominantly a cash based economy. However, for expats basing their visa status upon small business ownership in the Kingdom, visas and taxes are inexorably linked.

Each year, each and every limited company in Thailand must submit an up-to-date balance sheet reflecting the profits and losses for the previous fiscal year. The managing director of a Thai limited company can do themselves a great disservice by failing to submit a yearly balance sheet as this can be punishable by strict sanctions and fines. Thailand, like many nations, imposes a corporate tax upon nearly all legal entities operating within the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Thailand.  Further a corporate witholding tax is required for certain transactions.

In Thailand, the most well known method of taxation is the Value Added Tax (aka VAT). The government places a value added tax of seven percent upon most goods and services. The consequences for a business that fails to pay these taxes can be severe.

The reader is likely asking themselves: “Ok, I understand, Thailand has taxes, but how does this effect my Thai visa?” One of the major concerns of Thai Immigration officers is that those present in the Kingdom of Thailand on a business visa will use a “shell company,” in order to maintain Business visa status. In order to forestall such chicanery, Thai Immigration routinely looks at the tax records of companies that employ foreigners. This mostly occurs when the foreign national attempts to obtain a visa extension or a visa extension renewal. This type of scrutiny can also occur at the Ministry of Labour when a foreigner submits an application for an extension of his or her Thai work permit. In cases such as this, it is always better to have a good record of tax payment as this can greatly facilitate the quick issuance of a Thai visa or work permit.

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