New excise taxes to take effect September 16

The new excise tax is due to come into force on September 16 and will affect sugary drinks that will lose their excise free status. Ready-to-drink coffees and teas will be levied a 10% tax on their suggested retail price. A tax on sugary drinks will depend on the sugar content of the drink; soft drinks with a sugar content of 0-6 milligrams will be tax exempt, while 6-8mg will have a 10-satang tax, 8-10mg will be taxed 30 satang, 10-14mg will see a 50 satang tax, and more than 14mg in one drink will have a one baht tax. The laws will apply to 21 categories except alcohol, cigarettes and playing cards which are still being determined but expected to be decided before September 16. Local wine makers are expected to benefit as the Excise Department plans on raising the ceiling for tax exemption from 600 baht to thousands of baht. Foreign made wine are not expected to benefit from this new ceiling as their retail price is higher than locally made wines.

New customs laws are due to take effect November 17, repealing the old Customs Act BE 2469 (1926) and its amendments. The new Customs Act BE 2570 (2017) will see changes in the penalties which will be based on separate categories depending on the offense, penalties based on intent will also change and be lessened for those just committing an error rather than intentional or negligent misconduct. Now the prosecution must prove willful intent. Financial penalties for duty evasion will also be changed in the new act and will be based on only the actual amount of duty evaded. The new act will be applied retroactively to pending cases. Additionally the new act will streamline the process, making clearing customs a faster and more transparent process according to reports.

A report by the Digital Advertising Association of Thailand (DAAT) predicts that Thailand’s digital ad spending is expected to hit 12.2 billion baht in 2017, a 29 percent jump from 2016 which saw 9.47 billion baht. Last year businesses spent the most on digital advertising on communications, non-alcoholic drinks, skincare products and motor vehicles. In 2017 the association predicts that the highest spending will be coming from the same four categories as they seek to boost brand awareness and consumer engagement. Currently more than 80 percent of Thais use the internet daily and the average internet user spends 4 hours a day on the internet on a mobile device and 5 hours a day on a PC or laptop.

The new Land Tax law is still under consideration by the National Legislative Assembly over concerns that taxpayers can pay the new tax bills levied by the bill. The NLA is likely to rework the bill to increase revenues as the argument is that the 50 million baht ceiling for tax exemption for first homes is quite high. Owners of second homes are subject to taxes even if the combined value of the two homes is less than 50 million baht. Only 0.04 percent of all homes and farmland are valued at more than 50 million baht.

Work Permit

Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. While a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf in advance of his starting work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.

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