What is double taxation? How to avoid its effects to individuals and business entities?


Double taxation is a case where tax is being levied twice from the same amount of income in two or more states, e.g. Thailand and other countries.

In order to avoid or eliminate double taxation, Thailand has entered into Double Taxation Agreement with other countries. Currently, Thailand has agreement with 55 countries whereas both residents of Thailand and the contracting states will benefit from the agreement.

In a double taxation agreement, there are credit and exemption methods. It also covers taxes on income and capital of individuals and juristic entities as well as the petroleum income tax. The petroleum income tax and the local development tax (i.e. Property tax) are covered under some treaties but Value Added Tax, Specific Business Tax and Municipal Tax are not covered under any tax treaties.

Thai double taxation treaties generally place a resident of the Contracting State in a more favorable position for Thai tax purposes than under the domestic law, i.e. the Thai Revenue Code. Thus, in the event that the rate of tax stipulated in the Revenue Code is different from that of a double taxation agreement, the rate which is more beneficial to the taxpayer will be applied.

Thai double taxation treaties in general provide income tax exemption on business profits (industrial and commercial profits) earned in Thailand by a resident of a Contracting State if it does not have a permanent establishment in Thailand. Moreover, the withholding taxes on payments of income to foreign juristic entities not carrying on business in Thailand may be reduced or exempted under the double taxation treaties.

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