Today THAI ACCOUNTANT would like to talk about VAT and Withholding Tax When Getting Services from Overseas.

As a company operating in Thailand, if you need to procure services from overseas, there are two things important to know:

  1. Very likely, you need to withhold some tax and submit it to the Thai Revenue Department within the 7th of the following month using form PND 54. In case you did not withhold the tax, you will have to pay from the company’s pocket. By the way, the tax you pay on behalf of another company (domestic or overseas) is a non-tax-deductible expense. Usually the withholding tax rate is 15% for most cases, but make sure you consult first with the double taxation treaty between Thailand and the country where the vendor is. MSNA is a Thai accounting company that is familiar with double taxation treaties because we deal mostly with international clients and we can give you an accurate advice. If you withhold the tax from the payment you make to the vendor, then the tax you submit is not part of your cost. If the vendor wants a withholding tax certificate so that they can use the amount of tax withheld by you as their prepaid tax, you will have to get the withholding tax certificate in English from the Thai Revenue Department. It takes many papers and forms and a few months to get the withholding tax certificate from the RD.
  2. Once you pay an overseas service provider, you need to submit 7% VAT on their behalf by the 7th of the following month using VAT return form PP 36. When you submit it, you will get a tax receipt from the Revenue Department. The VAT amount in the receipt is considered a purchase VAT or input VAT in the month that you submit it. You will claim it back in the same manner as all other purchase VAT you pay to Thai vendors. The reason behind the fact that you have to submit 7% VAT on behalf of the overseas vendors is that all the vendors in Thailand charge you VAT and if you can buy goods or services from overseas and you don’t have to pay VAT, then no one will want to buy from the Thai vendors. So the law has to make it fair to the Thai vendors. When you buy goods in Thailand you have to pay VAT, so to be fair to the Thai vendors, when you import goods, they make you pay VAT at the Customs too. The same idea applies to buying services from overseas; you need to pay VAT by submitting it on behalf of the overseas vendor.

If you have any Thai taxation questions, please consult with MSNA, the Thai accounting firm based in Bangkok.