Import Alcohol to Thailand

Business License

The manufacturing, import, and sale of alcoholic beverages in Thailand are regulated by two acts. It involves the Liquor Act of 1950 and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act of 2008. Liquor or spirit is defined by the Liquor Act of 1950 as, “any material or mixture that contains alcohol and in consumable or becomes consumable after mixing with water or other liquids”.
Liquor is subdivided into two main groups. They are discussed below:

Un-distilled Spirits

Un-distilled spirits or mixtures of fermented spirits having alcohol volume of fewer than 15 degrees.

Distilled Spirits

Mixtures of distilled spirits fermented spirits with an alcohol volume of more than 15 degrees. For example whiskey, rum, brandy, gin, vodka etc.

Duties of Excise Department

The Excise Department is not only entitled to collect the excise tax on alcohol but they are also the regulatory agency for alcohol production and distribution. This duty is in accordance with the Liquor Act B.E. 2493. The licensing system of the Excise Department assists the licensee to sell the alcoholic beverages in correspondence with the Thai regulation.

License Application

If any of the following intentions exist, one should apply for an alcohol license with the Excise Department (Ministry of Finance).

  • Alcohol production or possession of the relevant equipment.
  • More than one liter of import of alcohol.
  • Transportation of untaxed alcohol from a factory or plant.
  • Transportation of more than 10 liters of alcoholic beverages.
  • Transportation of more than 1 liter but less than 10 liters of alcohol between specified provinces or territories.
  • Selling alcoholic beverages in Thailand.

The Liquor Act of Thailand prohibits license holders to sell alcoholic beverages in the following cases:

  • To individuals younger than 20 years of age
  • To people who lose their consciousness when they drink
  • Between 12 pm and 11 am and from 2 pm to 5 pm
  • Within or next to educational and religious areas.

Import of Alcohol

Before importing alcohol not manufactured in Thailand, in the first place, one requires the approval of the Excise Department. A form SOR2/74 needs to be completed and a free per issued license will have to be paid to the officer of the Excise Department. The list is as follows:

  • 200 THB per issued license when imported for trade/sale or
  • 50 THB per issued license when imported for non-trading activities i.e. personal use or gifting

Some important documents are required for a license depending on the intention of trade or not to trade.

Import for Trade

Following documents are required if the individual wants to import alcohol for the purpose of trade:

  • A copy of liquor selling license Type 1.
  • Copy of the Invoice and Performa Invoice
  • Letter of label approval (Not applicable in case of wine)
  • Sample of Label (only applicable in case of Wine)
  • Copy of household registration of business place or lease contract
  • Copy of Identity Card (ID card) if an individual is applying or Certificate of Registration in case of artificial person (company)
  • Power of Attorney

Import for Non-Trade

  • Copy of the invoice i.e. Performa
  • Copy of ID card in case of a physical person or copy of Certificate of Registration if it concerns an artificial person
  • Power of Attorney

This license is received in merely 30 minutes.

Import Duties

Before they are released from the custody of the Customs, some duties are levied on the imported goods apart from the liquor license. They are listed below:

  • Customs import duties
  • Excise tax for Excise Department and Interior Tax
  • VAT (Value Added Tax) for the Revenue Department

There are some clarifications needed for import duties. Import duties are imposed at a certain rate, an ad valorem rate or on a compound basis. The base of the ad valorem rate is determined by the domestic value of the good also known as the “True Market Value” of the imported good in the local market. This value is calculated at the official exchange rate prevailing in the economy. The actual market value of the goods is the wholesale cash price in which the duties are not included, for which similar goods would be sold and thus the prices actually paid or payables are used. The compound basis is a combination of the two others rates, very Thai and simple: “whichever of both gives the highest amount of duties, will be the rate applied”.

Most of the imported goods are subject to the import duties ranging from 5 percent to 60 percent. This percentage may be reduced or even eliminated under Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Free Trade Area (AFTA). AFTA although, does not apply a common external rate on the imported goods if the goods are imported from one of the member countries.

For what relates to wine and beer of an alcoholic strength by volume not exceeding 15% or, exceeding 15% but not exceeding 23% (fermented liquors):

Exporting Country

Ad Valorem Rate (%) until 31/12/2012

The Customs Tariff Decree B.E. 2530 (Ceiling Rate)

60

ASEAN – Australia – New Zealand

20

China Free Trade Agreement

Exempt from Duties

Japan

32.7

Korea

Exempt from Duties

ATIGA

Exempt from Duties

FTA Thai – Australia

12

Exemption and Reduction of Customs Duty for the Goods Originating in Japan

27.27

Thai – Peru

24

FTA Thai – New Zealand

9

Excise Tax

Being an indirect tax, the excise tax is imposed on certain goods manufactured in Thailand or imported to Thailand at a time when they leave the factory or warehouse or when they enter the country. The excise tax is amongst others implemented on petroleum, beverages, electrical appliances, perfumes and motor vehicles. As for the import duties, an excise tax is levied either at a specific rate based on the volume of the alcoholic content or at an ad valorem rate. This tax ranges from 1 to 50 percent. In most of the cases, ad valorem rate is used.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

The VAT is an indirect tax on the value added to goods and services at each stage of production or distribution. It is due and levied on all retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, producers, importers and service providers. In the Thai regulations, VAT rate is a flat rate of 7% which makes it easy to calculate. In the case of imported goods, VAT filings and tax payments must be presented at the Customs Department at the moment of import. It must be noted here that small entrepreneurs or businessmen whose annual revenue is less than equal to 1.8 million THB are exempted from VAT.

Besides the above-mentioned taxes, imported alcohol is applicable to local taxes as well including Thai health taxes and TV taxes, amounting to 10%, 2% and 1.5% on the excise tax respectively. The import duties, excise taxes, and VAT cumulated, the tax burden on most imported spirits is approximately 400 percent.

Special License for Trading Alcohol in Thailand

If you intend to import alcohol for the purpose of selling it in a shop, or to pass it to other distributors, or use it in your own restaurant or bar, you need an alcohol license Type 1. In order to get the Type 1 license, you must complete the “SOR.2/64” form at the Excise Department where the business is located. The annual license fee of 8,250 THB is applicable. A copy of the Performa invoice, as well as a sample of the label, will have to be provided to the authorities.

Brand Label Requirements

The brand label of all packaged alcoholic products and beverages imported to Thailand has to be in Thai language or English language and has to mention the following items:

  • The name of the company
  • The location of the company
  • The name of the product
  • The alcoholic degree which has to comply with the Thai industrial standards of the Ministry of Industry:
    • Alcoholic degree must not be less than 0.5 degree
    • Alcoholic degree must not be more than 1 degree
  • The volume
  • The name and location of the alcohol manufacturer

If all of the above requirements are in order, the Officer of the Excise Department will issue an alcohol import license form SOR 1/65. The issued license fee is 200 THB.

It is worth mentioning here that the alcoholic degree of wine is approved case by case. These include wine imported via the Bangkok custom house, Laemchabang custom house, Nongkai custom house, Phibunmangsham custom house or Suvarnabumi custom house.

All of the above are required when the alcohol is imported to Thailand for the first time or when the label is changed. There are different types of licenses. They are listed below:


Type of License

Relevant Thai Authority

Capacity of Applicant

Fees Applicable

Required Documents

Type 1 (Import and Sale of Alcoholic Beverages of more than 10 liters)

Excise Department (Officer)

Physical or Artificial (Juristic Person)

8,250 THB annually

  • Application form SOR 2/64
  • ID card or Certificate of Registration

Type 2 (Sale of more than 10 liters of Alcoholic Beverages)

Excise Department (Officer)

Physical or Artificial (Juristic Person)

  • Less than 6K liters: 220 THB
  • More than 6K less than 20K liters: 660 THB
  • 20K to 32K liters: 1,320 THB
  • 32K or more liters: 1,650
  • Identity Card or Certificate of Registration in case of juristic person
  • A map of business place and a letter for liquor stock examination

Type3 (Sale of fewer than 10 liters of alcohol not manufactured in Thailand)

Officer of Excise Department

Physical or Juristic person

  • Bangkok Municipality and Pattaya: 1,650 per annum
  • Anywhere else: 1,100 THB per annum

Same as above

Type 4 (Sale of fewer than 10 liters per time of alcohol manufactured in Thailand/retail)

Excise Department (Officer)

Physical or Artificial person (Company or Business)

  • Bangkok Municipality and Pattaya: 110 THB per annum
  • City and Tambon Municipality: 55 THB per annum
  • Anywhere else: 11 THB per annum

Same as above

There are Type 5, Type 6 and Type 7 licenses as well which also have the same requirements and the concerned authorities are also the same i.e. Officer of The Excise Department.

Need Help? Contact Us

If you are looking to get an Alcohol License in Thailand, contact us, Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors is a team of professional attorneys in Thailand. Our team of legal and accounting experts is capable of helping you get the alcohol license in Thailand more easily than ever. Our team will help you go through each phase of acquiring the license process. We will also help you collect the relevant documents and make sure that there is no single formality left uncompleted. If you want to know more about our services, please feel free to call us at +66 (0)2642-0214.

You can also contact us to get a free consultation regarding any sort of business inquiries. We would love to help you and answer all your queries.


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