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Sunbelt Asia Weekly Column 4 August 2017

Sunbelt Asia Weekly Column

4 August 2017

Rental income tax issues  

Question 1:
 My Thai better half has just received a demand for tax, payable on a rental property in Pattaya (Banglamung).  The demand is for 27,000 baht which is said to represent 10 years of non-payment.  My questions are:
1.    Are the Thai authorities now broadening the tax base, or are they simply collecting what should have been paid over the intervening years?  Is this a new development?
2.    Is this tax an income tax or is it a property-based tax?  The property is a small townhouse.  Better half owns one other property in the same housing estate, in which she lives part time – her adult son lives there full time.
3.    If it is an income tax, based on assumed rental income, is there a tax free allowance to which each individual is entitled, even for unearned income – she has virtually no earned income  

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds:  
There are no general property taxes (capital tax on property imposed by the government) in Thailand, but real properties put to commercial use (residential houses not 'owner occupied' and commercial buildings) must under the Building and Land Tax Act pay a 'rental' tax at a rate of 12,5 % of the annual rental value or the annual assessed rental value, whichever is higher.  

To answer your second question it is a rental tax based on renting out the property.  

And for the third question, “If it is an income tax, based on assumed rental income, is there a tax free allowance to which each individual is entitled, even for unearned income – she has virtually no earned income?”  

We have never known of a case of anyone ever getting this tax back. One reason is the government could have appraised the property at a higher rental rate and the probability is high the tax owed with penalties would be higher than what was originally paid.  

Costs when buying a piece of land  

Question 2:
Thinking of buying my girlfriend a piece of land in her name so a house can be built on it.  Could you ask Sunbelt what conveyancing would cost.  Obviously I want to he happy that the transaction is legal and there’s no funny business with title.  

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds:  
There are many variables on withholding tax, transfer fee, specific business tax and stamp duty depending on years held by current owner and if it's a corporation owner or individual and, of course, the value of the land. The government fees will depend on the purchase price which is negotiated between buyer and seller. We have helped clients before. We do the title deed search to check if the land is legitimate and the owner is real then we can help with registering the purchase at the land department from drafting the purchase agreement to registering the purchase. It would be best to contact us at Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors and we will give you the detailed estimate after asking more questions.  

Retiring to Thailand and bringing my car  

Question 3: 
I am planning to apply for a retirement visa and move to Thailand.  A friend told me that I can import (duty free perhaps?) a used car.  After some time in Thailand, then I can then sell the car for some profit.  Are there any legal requirements that I have to follow?  

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds:  
It is true that you can import some items tax free, they can only be used household goods. The Customs website states:  

“Both Thai and non-Thai residents changing residence into Thailand are eligible to bring used/secondhand household effects into Thailand, in reasonable quantities, free of taxes and duties. It is also required that the imported used/ secondhand household effects have been owned, possessed, and used in the country where the importers resided before returning to Thailand to resume residence."  

However, vehicles are specifically excluded:   

"Motor vehicles, alcoholic beverages and tobacco are excluded from this relief"

Getting a deposit back after signing a lease contract  

Question 4: 
Being a bit in a rush, I recently agreed to have my girlfriend sign a rental lease for an apartment in Bangkok. Just having returned to Thailand, and not having a work permit yet, the property's manager refused to accept my signature under the lease for that particular reason.  I agreed to pay a 5,000 baht 'deposit' in order to sign the lease later.  

My questions are:  

1)  In case of the person signing the lease moving out early, will I, as the person paying the rental deposit of 2-months' rent and an 'advance rent' (to be used in lieu of the last rental payment, as well as all recurrent rental payments, be able to recover aforementioned rental deposit by myself?
2)  If I insisted on signing the lease myself, despite not meeting the owner's requirement of a work permit, can I insist on a refund of the 5,000 baht deposit?
  Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds  

In your first question it is important to see what was agreed upon regarding the lease contract terms in the contract but usually the deposit gets returned to the person who has signed the lease. However, you will not be able to insist on a refund of the lease deposit. Even though the law does not say that foreigners without a work permit are not allowed to sign a lease it is up to the discretion of the juristic person to decide internally so this mean they do not have to accept a lease signed by yourself.

Changing from a marriage extension to a retirement extension  

Question 5:
I turn 50 this year, and have been living in Thailand for the last few years on a marriage visa. I wish to change this once I'm 50 to the retirement option. I'm aware of the financial requirements, but wondered what exactly do I have to do to convert the visa and can it all be done with one visit to immigration?  

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds:  
It is possible to obtain a retirement visa extension in country but the original marriage visa extension will need to be cancelled in country at least 15 days before the renewal date. If later than that than you will need to leave the country and come back on a tourist visa which can be converted to an extension based on retirement, this too will need to be done 15 days before the visa expires.

Be aware that you must have 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account in your name only or show verified income with a letter from your Embassy of 65,000 baht a month. There are a few other requirements and Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can walk you through this procedure.

Sunbelt Asia joins the nation in wishing Her Majesty the Queen a very happy birthday on August 12, 2017. The offices will be closed on Monday August 14, 2017 in honor of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on her birthday and to all mothers on Mother's Day. This is a national public holiday and government offices will also be closed. †

The Bank of Thailand reported that the economy grew continuously in June, with a 7.6 percent increase in exports compared to the same period last year. The export growth was the result of expansion in electronic and processed agricultural products and products whose export value fluctuates with the price of crude oil. There was an 11.4 percent increase in tourists from almost all countries compared to the same period last year, resulting in higher spending in the service sector. There has been not yet been an economic impact assessment of flooding in the North East, however the senior director believes the flooding conditions will have a short-term impact on the Thai economy and that the impact will be smaller than the latest flooding in the southern region. The economy is predicted to grow more in the second quarter than in the first but outside factors such as a policy increase by the Fed in the United States could have an effect. †

Although passenger traffic growth at the six major airports slowed in first half of 2017 due to several factors including the crackdown on zero dollar tours from China and the partial closure of one of the runways at Suvarnabhumi for two months earlier this year. Growth remained healthy with Suvarnabhumi seeing 6.67 percent year on year growth reaching 30.3 million passengers, Don Mueang saw passenger traffic rise 8.15 percent to 18.9 million. Phuket traffic rose 10.1 percent to 8.44 million; Chiang Mai, grew 8.31 percent to 5 million; Hat Yai was up 14.8 percent to 2.22 million; and Chiang Rai, had the highest growth rate at 22.1 percent to 1.2 million. The Ministry of Tourism reported Ministry of Tourism and Sports reported 4.4 percent growth in international arrivals year on year. In the first half of 2017 the country saw 17.3 million international arrivals, contributing 87.6 billion baht to the Thai economy.

Thai AirAsia is adding two new routes to India believing that the growing number of Indian tourists will be attracted to Bangkok and Thailand. Indians are the sixth most request visitors to Thailand with 1.19 million Indian travelers visiting the country. TAA already operates four non-stop flights; Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Kochi as well as the two new routes to Jaipur and Tiruchirappalli. The Department of Tourism is hoping to boost Indian tourist arrivals by 8 percent in 2017.

Business news on Sunbelt Asia

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



Fully fitted day spa for rent in popular Sukhumvit hotel

This beautiful spa is located in a popular and well regarded high end Sukhumvit hotel in a busy area with several other hotels as well as condo buildings. The large space is 135 sqm and has two rooms with two beds and two rooms with one bed each.  

All rooms have a shower for the customer. This spa is serene and beautifully decorated to ensure a quality experience for the guest. All equipment is included in the rental agreement. Three months deposit is required.  

RENTAL PRICE: 100,000 baht a month (BKK15773)  

View this listing on Sunbelt Asia

Entertainment business in busy Ekkamai area

This fun entertainment business takes advantage of one of the newest trends; the escape room! Great for corporate team efforts, tourists and just a fun night out, the owners of this business have set it with fun themes and it has received coverage in local magazines and great reviews online.  

Located in a busy Ekkamai shopping mall, the business was established in 2014 and has built up a great brand name. The owners are selling the Thai company and all trademarks and brands. This would be a great franchising opportunity as well.  

There are two full time and two part employees with a total monthly payroll of 33,950 baht. Rent on this prime space is 118,000 baht a month. Sales last year reached 1,225,000 baht.  

ASKING PRICE: 6,035,000 baht (BKK15756)

View this listing on Sunbelt Asia    

Long-running top rated Ebay store and business

With a thriving top-rated Ebay store and a long-running online presence this jade carving business is a turn-key ready opportunity for someone looking for an online business. The company has long-term contracts with seven master carving factories in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai to ensure a steady supply of high quality jade products.  

There is also a large stock in hand and equipment necessary for in-house polishing and photographing the sculptures. Inventory is valued at over 13.6 million baht and includes large pieces of jadeite in addition to finished sculpture pieces. The business is currently located in Bangkok for ease of shipment and distribution and rent on the premises is only 10,000 baht a month but the new owner would need to negotiate with the landlord on a new lease. The business has seen annual sales of around 1 million baht with a profit of 250,000 baht. There is one employee with a monthly salary of 35,000 baht. The new owner would need to open their own limited company but this is often desirable so that it is ensured there are no liens on the business.  

The owner has been running this business for the past 16 years but wishes to sell to retire and for health reasons and so is setting the price at only 3.5 million baht for a quick sale.  

ASKING PRICE: 3.5 million baht (BKK15778)  

View this listing on Sunbelt Asia

Top Siam Square space for rent, ideal for beauty clinic

An existing dental clinic is seeking a tenant to share space on this amazing Siam Square location. Siam Square is one of the top locations in Bangkok and this is an ideal location for a beauty clinic to open and share the common area and consultation room with the dental clinic that is using a part of the premises.

The new tenant would share the rental fee with the dental clinic. Rent on the space in this really amazing location is 126,000 baht a month for the new tenant. A deposit of 3 months and one month in advance would be necessary.  

RENTAL PRICE: 126,000 baht a month (BKK15777)  

View this listing on Sunbelt Asia

Chic restaurant near Thailand Cultural Center MRT

This chic restaurant is located in a brand new office building not far from the Thailand Cultural Center MRT. Very nicely decorated the restaurant offers fusion food and has both indoor and outdoor dining areas and seats 60. Rent on the 149.75sqm space is 110,000 baht a month for three years. The business is open six days a week for 14 hours a day.  

There are five full time employees with a total monthly payroll of 70,000 baht. Sales have reached around 400,000 baht a month and the business is now breaking even. However, the owner has had no time to devote to promoting and developing the business and feels a more committed owner would see those numbers rise rapidly due to the busy location.

The owner invested five million baht in the business and is selling it at a serious bargain as he has no time to manage the business.  

ASKING PRICE: 3.8 million baht (BKK15731)  

View this listing on Sunbelt Asia

Popular western restaurant chain in booming Chiang Mai

This is a top flight business for someone seeking to walk into a successful restaurant business with a great reputation. The business consists of four hugely popular restaurants in top locations around the city of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand and one brand new location that has just opened in nearby Lamphun province and has already seen its popularity boom. This restaurant chain is popular with local Thais who love Western food; they are a key component of the restaurants' success, as well as with resident expats and tourists seeking comfort food from home.  

Chiang Mai remains very popular as a retirement destination for both Thai residents and foreigners, the province and city are regularly voted in the top places to retire from various media and analysts because of its great climate, low cost of living, extensive infrastructure and friendly locals. Chiang Mai continues to grow as it becomes more well-known to domestic tourists, local residents, digital nomads, retirees and tourists.  

This business takes advantage of all those aspects of Chiang Mai with four restaurants in top locations around the city. The business is so popular and so well-known that they consistently get offers to open new restaurants outside Chiang Mai and are just now opening one in the next province to the South, Lamphun, the new restaurant opens April 2017. Lamphun is the home of a large university, many foreign owned factories and its slow life style is appealing to Bangkokians seeking a change as well as expats looking for a simple, easy lifestyle.  

There are six companies including the management company which runs the other four which cover each of the five restaurants, including the new one in Lamphun. One business is an Amity company that could be used as an umbrella to have no Thai partners for a buyer with US nationality. The other 5 businesses are Thai Co., Ltd.'s with net registered capital of 4 million Baht each.  

Each of the restaurants have had positive cash flow and have built up a very good reputation as being well-run with consistently good food, good service and a friendly atmosphere. Sales reached 95 million baht in 2016 and profits hit 20 million after add backs. The profits are expected to grow in 2017 as sales mature at the new locations and the older locations grow clientele.  

The package requires very little effort from the owner to maintain and a motivated owner could easily expand. The owner has an expansion plan in place should the new owner be interested. The restaurants have a complete management team including graphic design, marketing and social media, events, human resources, bookkeeping, a buyer, an office manager and an office worker. This business runs very smoothly and the new owner can easily step in and take over a profitable chain.  

The restaurants all have top - class equipment with some having been totally upgraded quite recently and a few million baht spent in the upgrades and renovations. There is a computer system for sales used in all locations and all equipment is serviced regularly. More detailed financial information will be disclosed to a serious buyer. The business is being sold as a package and the owner will not sell them separately. The asking price includes five locations, real estate and nearly 3 million baht in deposits.  

The owner is selling as he wishes to retire from the business.  

ASKING PRICE: 148,190,000.Baht (includes buildings 43 million Baht) (BKK15710)

View this listing on Sunbelt Asia

Profitable Khon Kaen based logistics business

This profitable transportation 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

Sri Racha car care business

Located in the popular Sri Racha area of Chonburi this busy car care business has been in business for six years and offers express car care service for customers. With a very reasonable rent of only 15,000 baht a month and a lease that expires in two years this business is ready for a new owner to just walk in and take over. There are five employees with monthly wages totaling 40,000 baht. The business has made annual sales of 2 million baht with a profit of 900,000 baht.

The owner is retiring and so wishes to sell the business.  

ASKING PRICE: 850,000 baht (BKK15776)  

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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