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Sunbelt Asia Weekly Column 8 September 2017

Sunbelt Asia Weekly Column

8 September 2017

Time off for pregnancy

I'm 12 weeks pregnant and have informed my school about the pregnancy as we are requested to notify of any anticipated absences as early as possible. While they expressed great excitement for me, they also have informed me that they are researching the "least possible" time they have to provide to me as they believe the Thai covered 45 days paid, 45 days unpaid is "too much" since I'm a foreigner. They have suggested / proposed that I receive 2 weeks time off (which is the total of my allotted sick days for the term). What am I legally qualified for under Thai law?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds:
Congratulations on the upcoming baby in your life. Under Thai Labor law every person who is officially employed with a Non Immigrant B visa, Work Permit and Contract have the same employment rights as local Thai citizens. The law stipulates 30 days of sick leave a year and 45 days of paid leave and 45 days of unpaid leave in case of pregnancy. This applies to someone working in the private sector and also working at a government school as foreigners are not Thai government employees but temporary employees and also fall under the Labor Laws for the general population. Bottom line you have the same rights as a Thai citizen. Best of luck to your baby and you.

License plates for a new car

I bought a brand new car in Udon recently. Dealer said they had no RED plates when I collect it but gave me a piece of paper to show to Police if I got stopped. They said 45 days to get the licence plate. Now he is asking for more and more documents from me to get the licence plate and it is over 2 months now.

I would like to know how I can get this for myself and what paperwork is really required? I have lived and worked here for 10 years and have valid visa and work permit.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors reponds:
The process to register and obtain license plates is pretty much the same for red plates or regular plates. You need to submit the following at your Land Transportation Department; 1. Blue book of a vehicle.
2. Passport, copy of it and visa of a new owner.
3. Residence Certificate (can be issued by the Embassy or Immigration)
4. Sale/purchase agreement
5. Copy of passport/id card ( + house registration of a Thai citizen or residence certificate if foreigner)
6. Paid road tax
7. Insurance.

However, it is not absolutely necessary to obtain red plates for a new car, if you carry in the car at all times the relevant papers such as the purchase agreement and the paper saying that the process for the license plate is in place then the police will accept that.

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 if 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.

Business news on Sunbelt Asia

Special offer on serviced offices for October!!

Starting October 1 we have two types of serviced offices available at a special promotional offer

Office with space for two staff at 9,500 baht a month
Office with space for three staff at 11,000 baht a month
Happy anniversary from all of us at Sunbelt Asia!!

A "Thank you" gift for our clients new and old!

Sunbelt Asia has been offering our excellent service to our clients for 15 years! As our 15th anniversary gift we would like to offer our professional services on retirement and marriage visa extensions at the very special reduced rate of 7,500 baht as a thank you to our clients new and old for their support over the years.


Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can handle all your legal and business needs; from visas to work permits, prenuptial agreements to divorces, condo purchases and wills.

Be sure and contact our English speaking legal advisors for all your legal needs


We at Sunbelt Asia see many of our clients regularly ask us legal questions regarding living and running a business in Thailand. To help out we have set up a FREE Expert Answers for Your Questions in Thailand Facebook page; Sunbelt Asia Facebook Expert Advice Page



Well-known online health food store

Take advantage of the growing health trend in Thailand with this online health food store. It is one of the most well-known in Thailand and has earned a good reputation for providing high quality superfoods, and raw and organic foods and products with delivery around the country and worldwide. The website is quite extensive and has a great modern design with built in check out system and secure payment.

Inventory valued at 1 million baht is included in the sale. This business has huge potential growth as the health food industry takes off in Thailand. The new owners can run the business from their current location with no need to relocate since it all takes place online. The company has been in business for four years and the current owners expanded it and updated the website after taking ownership one and a half years ago.

The owners wish to sell for family reasons.

ASKING PRICE 6 million baht (BKK15709)

View this listing on Sunbelt Asia

Thai Amity company seeks partnership

A well-established Thai Amity company is seeking a Thai company as partners to assist in company expansion in their unique biotechnology products business.

The company currently imports two unique products, a biotechnology cleaning product from Canada and a water conditioning product line from South Africa. The potential partner should be an established Thailand company engaged in a business that strategically aligns with the products that the company distributes. They are looking for a company that sees the growth potential in adding these product lines to their existing customer base.

The company currently has import licenses for 21 products and four additional licenses are already in the process of approval. The company also has distributorship rights for the biotechnology cleaning products and water conditioning products. They have a large customer base in the hospitality, food processing and swimming pool markets. They have five authorized sub-dealers and two independent agents in Thailand.

Additionally, there is an office and warehouse in the Thonglor area of Bangkok, and the company product stock valued at 350,000 baht. There are currently four staff, including three sales staff.

The current owners are seeking up to 70% ownership of the company is available. If the new partner is interested in a majority stake the company, the current owner would be available to remain for training, new business development and maintenance of distribution relationships.

ASKING PRICE 4,375,000 baht for 70% shareholding (BKK15792)

View this listing on Sunbelt Asia

Large spa in prime Asoke area

Located in the prime Asoke area, this spa is right at the intersection and near Terminal 21, many hotels and high foot traffic. The owner opened the business only recently but urgent family issues are forcing a sale.

The owner invested more than 12 million baht to equip this spa fully including separate foot and Thai massage areas, Turkish scrub baths, and a Jacuzzi. There are four floors with over 20 massage areas and rooms, including rooms with private showers for oil massage. There is also a staff room and kitchen area for staff.

The spa is set in two combined shop-houses over 4 floors with about 480 sqm including a lobby on the ground floor. There are 120sqm per floor and rent on this prime space is 300,000 baht a month with a 3 + 3 + 3 year lease. There are 12 staff including 2 receptionists. The business has only been open a very short time so there are no financials but this fully equipped spa and massage is ideally located in a top tourist location.

ASKING PRICE 10 million baht (BKK15784)

View this listing on Sunbelt Asia

Long-running Chiang Mai pub with property in prime location

A well-established specialty food manufacturer with established contracts with supermarkets, hotels and online food markets is available in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. The business was established in 2015 and has seen great growth with contracts with major supermarket retailers, several high end resorts and seventy retailers, both online and in store, and the owners are in talks with distributors for export to Hong Kong and Singapore making this an ideal business for someone interested in seeing this business expand even further.

The business manufactures top quality fruit preserves and chutneys, sources from local farmers and is registered with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements organization. Production capacity could be easily increased with the purchase or rental of some specialty equipment and given that they currently offer nine products that are registered with the FDA Thailand and all products have nutritional information in line with USDA regulations for export as well as bar codes this business could see international growth as the desire for high end food products continues to climb.

There is a website, well maintained Facebook and Instagram accounts and email. There are one full time and two part time employees with a total monthly payroll of 30,000 baht. Rent on the factory building is a reasonable 8,000 baht a month. Sales last year reached 767,000 baht with a profit of around 100,000 baht but this could easily grow with an aggressive marketing campaign and reaching out to more sales outlets. All financial records are available to the serious buyer.

The owners are selling due to family issues.

ASKING PRICE: 750,000 baht (BKK15782)

View this listing on Sunbelt Asia

Long-running transportation & logistics business in the North East

Khon Kaen is at the heart of the North East and with the government's push to expand trade with its Mekong region neighbors this profitable transportation is in the right location to take advantage of this growth in trade. It has earned a good reputation having been business for 48 years in Khon Kaen, the company has also expanded with two branches in Bangkok. The business has many repeat customers and excellent word of mouth due to its long standing role in the North East. A great team of 60 dedicated staff. The company has 17 trucks for delivery and they are included in the sale. The business saw 36 million baht in revenues last year with a profit of 13 million baht. The owner is retiring and so wishes to sell the business

ASKING PRICE 55 million baht (BKK15662)

View this listing on Sunbelt Asia

Sunrise Tacos Franchise  

Interested in joining the most successful and popular Mexican restaurant franchise in Thailand? Sunrise Tacos is seeking qualified franchisees to join us in our commitment to quality and healthy, delicious food. Are you experienced in hospitality or business management but want to strike out on your own? Sunrise Tacos is seeking franchisees fully committed to the Sunrise Tacos way; with a hands on approach to running the business and experience in hospitality or business management. The leadership at Sunrise Tacos prides itself on maintaining a close and personal relationship with each of our franchisees and looks at franchising as a long-term business partnership. We are committed to our franchise partners and helping them grow.  

With the opening of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of this year we at Sunrise Tacos see the potential for growth in the region. If you want to be a part of that potential let us know! We already have a branch in Phnom Penh and have added more around Thailand, including our new franchise in Chiang Mai, and are seeking committed, enthusiastic business minded people to join us. Contact [email protected] for more information.

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