Starting a Business in Thailand
Starting a business in Thailand can seem complicated and rather difficult but Sunbelt Asia can make sure that the process runs smoothly; from finding a location for your business, to setting up a company, visas and work permits, and finally ongoing accounting.
Setting up a Limited Company in Thailand is a fairly complicated procedure and requires all documents to be submitted in Thai, so its best to have an experienced legal advisor backed up by translators and accountants to make sure every i is dotted and every t crossed. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can make sure you set up your company legally and obtain a work permit if needed.
There are a few pitfalls to avoid if you want to make sure you are entirely legal; the Department of Business Development is checking to make sure that all shareholders have actually invested in the company, so it is best to have real shareholders who have made a real contribution to the assets of the company. The Foreign Business Act prohibits Thai nationals from acting as “nominee” shareholders with the penalties ranging from fines of 100,000 baht to one million baht and terms of imprisonment of up to three years or both.
In the past many foreigners have set up a shell company with nominee shareholders to buy land. The foreign owner retained all voting rights, and the shareholders were in name only. The government is checking up on this and we at Sunbelt Asia do not recommend this route if you wish to hold rights to Thai land. There are other, legal ways to hold land in Thailand and we can assist you in finding the best solution for your situation.
The first thing most people do when they start a business is to form a limited company. You must have three shareholders at a minimum and the company must have 3 shareholders at all times.
You will need to have a valid corporation address, in most cases it is not possible to register your address in a home or condominium, it must be a commercial address. If your company will require work permits for foreign employees, you must have registered the company in an actual office/commercial facility with a designated working area. Sunbelt Asia offers competitive rates on Executive Desks to provide the valid work space and the commercial address.
Additionally, you will need to show 2 million baht in registered capital when applying for a work permit, this does not have to be 2 million baht in cash but can also be assets in the business.
The Department of Business Development will investigate any Thai limited company where a foreigner or foreigners own more than 40 percent of the shares or if the foreigner is an authorized director who can act on behalf of the company. The DBD will require Thai shareholders to submit proof showing the source of the invested money if the Thai shareholder’s investment was in the form of money.
You will need to obtain a non-B visa if you do not already have one for marriage or investment and apply for a work permit should you wish to be a signing director of a company. It is important to note that it is possible for a foreigner to hold shares in a Thai company as a director and not need a work permit – however, if you plan on running the business or wish to sign on behalf of the company as director then you will need to obtain a work permit.
The Thai government requires regular audits; both quarterly and annual reports must be filed. Sunbelt Asia has a team of expert accountants to make sure that you remain fully legal and complaint with all Revenue Department regulations.
Once you have all these things in place, it is time to get down to business and build its success without having to worry about legal details and Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors is here to make sure that happens.
- You will need to find a location and have a legal address for your business
- Find Thai shareholders
- Start a Thai Limited Company
- Obtain a non-B visa and work permit
Follow all accounting regulat