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Archives for August 2012

Five-year Thai personal income tax exemption for foreign movie stars

The Thai government has recently implemented Royal Decree No. 289 (B.E. 2012) which grants a 5-year personal income tax exemption for foreign film actors who earn income from foreign movies shot in Thailand and approved by the National Committee for Movie and Video. This exemption is applicable to income derived from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2015.

It can be recalled that a draft ministerial regulation related to this exemption has been already approved by the government earlier this year in a bid to attract foreign movie producers and promote tourism in Thailand. Hence, a foreign film actor which is considered as a foreign tax resident during the exemption period shall be exempted from personal income tax only if:

  1. Such income was derived from performance in a foreign film produced by a company or partnership incorporated under a foreign law; and
  2. A filming permit has been granted in accordance with the laws relating to film and video.

Need help in filing your Thai taxes? Contact MSNA, English speaking tax experts for professional advice.

 

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Different types of Thailand visas for U.S. citizens

American citizens can be permitted to enter Thailand through different types of visas as follows:

1. Visa Exempt Entry

U.S. citizens carrying a tourist passport and having a return airline ticket do not require a visa to enter Thailand. The passport must still be valid for at least six months to be allowed entry. Upon entry, Thai immigration officials will place an immigration stamp in the passport giving a 30-day permit of stay in Thailand if arriving by air or a 15-day stay if arriving by land. This permit of stay may be subsequently extended for an additional 7 days by paying a Baht 1,900 fee to the Thai Immigration Bureau office.

For those Americans who are carrying a diplomatic or official passport, it is advisable to obtain a visa before arriving in Thailand. In some situations, it is possible for diplomatic or official passport holders to enter without a visa, but it is up to the precautions of the airline and/or immigration personnel whether or not you will be granted an entry.

2. Tourist Visas

If an American wants to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days, he or she may consider obtaining a tourist visa at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in theUnited States, before arriving in Thailand. This tourist visa will allow an initial stay of 60 days and must be used within 90 days from the date of issue. After arrival in Thailand, a tourist visa may be extended twice, each time for an additional 15 days. There is a fee of Baht 1,900 for each extension.

Americans who wants to stay in Thailand for more than 90 days during any six-month period will be required to obtain a valid Thai visa from a Thai Embassy or Consulate that is authorized to issue visas. The U.S. Embassy advises all Americans who wish to obtain a Thai visa to contact the Thai Immigration Bureau for complete visa requirements and regulations. Individuals who do not comply with Thai visa regulations may be possibly denied entry to Thailand at the border.

3. Work Visa

All foreigners (regardless their nationalities) who are interested in working in Thailand must obtain a valid Thai work visa and Thai work permit. In order to be granted a work permit, an application must be filed by a company, foreign government, or other organization in Thailand on behalf of the work visa applicant. Once granted, the work visa can be extended to one year.

4. Retirement Visa

Thai retirement visas are available to foreigners aged 50 years and above. These visas are valid for only one year and any kind of employment is strictly prohibited. According to Thai Immigration, applicants must have the following qualifications in order to be eligible for retirement visa:

– Applicant must be able to provide evidence of a pension or other regular income from a source outside ofThailand;

– Applicant’s pension or other regular income must be no less than the equivalent of Baht 65,000 per month;

– Alternatively, the applicant may meet the financial requirement by maintaining a Thai bank account with a minimum balance of Baht 800,000. Thus, applicants will need to show that they have Baht 800,000 in savings each year when they renew their visa.

– Any applicant married to a Thai citizen may be able to receive a visa on that basis rather than retirement.

5. Visa Overstays

If a person does not leave Thailand upon the expiration of his or her permit of stay or visa, this person is already considered staying in Thailand illegally. And, in order for him or her to leave the country after his visa or permit expires, it will be necessary to pay a fine for overstaying of Baht 500 per day up to a maximum of Baht 20,000. The fine is payable to the Immigration Bureau, at the Suvarnabhumi Airport Immigration office or other departure points.

Thailand visa rules regulations are subject to change without prior notice. For further assistance, contact MSNA lawyers for visa and work permit services.

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Extended period of VAT reduction

Just recently, an extension of VAT reduction period has been approved by the Thai cabinet as a way to promote economic growth due to 2011 and 2012 floods. With this measure, VAT rates will be reduced according to the following:

  1. The VAT rate will again be reduced to 6.3%, effective from 1 October 2012 to 30 September 2014. Thus, the collectible VAT rate after adding municipal tax at one-ninth of the 6.3% will be 7%.
  2. After the above period, the VAT rate will then be returned to 9% and therefore, the collectible VAT rate after adding municipal tax at one-ninth of the 9% will total 10%.

However, one should note that this normal VAT rate of 10% has always been reduced to 7% (by way of Thai cabinet’s approval) from the time VAT was introduced into the Thai tax system decades ago as a way to boost the Thai economy.

Contact MSNA, Thailand English speaking accountants, for expert advice and guidance on Thailand accounting and taxation.

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Proposed projects to prepare Thailand for ASEAN Community

As a move to prepare Thailand for ASEAN Community (AC), which is set to be formed in 2015, the Thai Ministry of Labour proposes Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESB) 10 projects, hoping that the country will have labour protection standard that is recognized at international level, and will be prototype of human resource development for other countries.

The Thai government has resolved to have the NESDB, the Secretariat of the Cabinet, and concerned agencies mapped out a master plan to help prepare Thailand for the AC and to have these agencies work together to help push the AC into existence by 2015.

The Ministry of Labour has been tasked to arrange a three-year government operational plan (2013-2015) as well as other plans and projects to help Thailand prepare for the AC. They must be in line with the building of the AC, which consists of three main pillars namely ASEAN Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. The Ministry has also instructed concerned agencies to map out 10 projects to help Thailand prepare for the AC and rank them in order of importance, from the least important project to the flagship project.

So far, three projects were designed by Department of Employment such as:

– Information system development project to support free flow of labour,

– Laws/rules/regulation improvement project, and

– Awareness building project on decent work.

The Department of Skill Development has designed two projects:

– Skill development project for the preparation of the AEC, and;

– Occupational skill development projects for women, youth, old-age people, people with disability, and informal workers.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare has designed two projects: a project to create workplace prototype and a project to improve labour management.

The Office of Social Security has also designed 2 projects, which are:

– A project to transform the workers rehabilitation center into the South East Asian workers rehabilitation training center with comprehensive training curriculum for workers with disability, and

– A project for the protection of ASEAN social security rights.

Moreover, Office of the Permanent Secretary has also designed one project, which is a study of capability of Thai workers in trade, service, and investment sectors.

Implementation of these projects has yet to be announced.

Contact MSNA for your inquiries and business needs.

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Hiring an English Speaking Accounting Firm

Why should you hire an English speaking accounting firm? We have some reasons for you:

1. Thai accountants who speak a few words of English want a very high salary, higher than a monthly fee you will pay an outsourced accounting firm who can communicate fluently with you in English.

2. With the kind of money you pay to a high quality English speaking accounting firm, which is pretty low, you cannot hire an in-house accountant who has a lot of experience and is knowledgeable enough in the Thai tax law.

3. Thai accountants move between companies easily. A lot of times they do not give you enough time in advance to find a replacement. They just leave a mess behind for the next accountant to clean up after them. With English speaking accounting firms like MSNA, your accounts will be done on time and smoothly. Accounting firms have staff turnover too, but they make sure that the clients’ accounts are uninterrupted.

Now, when you consider hiring an English speaking accounting firm, make sure you do not choose the ones that are very cheap. You know how much experience accountants cost? There is no way accounting firms can keep their good staff if they charge very low fees. The less fee you pay, the cheaper quality you get. (However, this does not mean you should pick the most expensive ones either.) Accounting firms have very high costs like your firms do too. If you are happy with the very low fee they charge you, you will be as unhappy with the quality of work they deliver. Each of their employees is responsible for tens of accounts. They make lots of mistakes and their supervisors do not have time to check their work. You will end up paying much more for tax fines and penalty than the amount you think you save from hiring very cheap Thai accounting firms. So choose wisely.

Here is an article about hiring accountants that we think our readers will enjoy. Maybe not for Thailand, though: http://www.officespaceforrent.org/blog/6-reasons-you-should-just-hire-an-accountant/.

Contact MSNA for your accounting, audit and tax needs.

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