New categories added for Smart Visa

The Cabinet approved revisions in the new Smart Visa allowing for three new professions to work, invest, or open business in 10 targeted industries; alternative dispute resolution management, human resources development in science and technology and environment and alternative energy management. A fast track lane will be opened at all international airports in Thailand for Smart Visa holders, and the income requirement has been decreased; the minimum monthly income for general experts has been set to 100,000 baht and 50,000 baht for experts in local startups, while the monthly income from high professionals and executives remains at a minimum of 200,000 baht but can also include bonuses. The timeline has also been changed from one year for the initial followed by 2 year period renewals to six months, one year, and two years. The BoI is allowing startups to receive local venture capital and revising startups' minimum investment from 20 million baht per individual investor to co-investment for multiple investors, new startups have a minimum investment of 5 million baht. The BoI hasn’t seen a large influx of applicants for the new Smart Visa and is encouraging qualified personnel to apply.

A new land and building tax bill was passed last Friday and covers agricultural, residential, commercial and undeveloped property. Agricultural land will be taxed on a graduated scale based on value; property worth up to 50 million baht will be taxed annually at 0.02 percent of the land’s estimated value while farmland valued at 75 million to 100 million baht will pay 0.03 percent, and land worth 100 million to 500 million baht will be taxed at 0.05 percent. Owners of undeveloped tracts of land will be hit hard with a new tax of 0.3 percent of the value per year and that rate will rise an additional 0.3 percent every three years the land remains unused to a maximum of 3 percent. Residential land and houses worth up to 50 million baht will pay a 0.02 percent annual tax on the property’s value, while homes and land worth 50 million to 75 million baht will be taxed 0.03 percent. If the residential property is worth 75 to 100 million baht, the annual rate will be 0.05 percent and more than 100 million baht, the annual tax rate increases to 0.1 percent. However, primary residences worth no more than 50 million baht will be exempt from tax, if owners own only a building then it will be exempt from tax if the value is not over 10 million baht.

The new tax rate for owners of commercial property valued under 50 million baht will be 0.3 percent, between 50 million to 200 million baht, 0.4 percent tax, and 0.5 percent if valued between between 200 million and 1 billion baht. Property valued between 1 billion to 5 billion baht will be taxed at 0.6 percent, and over 5 billion will see a 0.7 percent tax. Owners of agricultural land, ordinary land, and building owners will be exempt from tax for the first three years after the law comes into effect.

Michelin released its second edition for Thailand last week and for the first time covers eateries outside of Bangkok. The new guide includes restaurants in Phuket and Phangnga, with one restaurant in Phuket being awarded a Michelin star. The new guide also covers Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon and Samut Prakan. All of the restaurants with two stars last year retained their ratings while one restaurant, Suhring, gained a second star. PRU in Phuket, Ruean Panya in Samut Sakhon and Suan Thip in Nonthaburi are the first one-star restaurants outside of Bangkok.

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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