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Is Thailand Really Going To Tax Foreign Transfers?

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

The proposed or New Tax Ruling Beginning January of next Year

Lawyers for Expats Thailand have received many enquiries regarding this topic.


On 15 September 2023, the Revenue Departmental instruction number Paw. 161/2566 (“DI. Paw.

161”) was issued, which provides a new interpretation of the personal income tax treatment of foreign sourced income derived by a Thai individual tax resident under the Revenue Code (the "Code").

This infers, that any income from a foreign source derived by a Thai individual tax resident

is subject to Thai personal income tax upon bringing it into Thailand, regardless of the tax

year the income is received. The interpretation change will apply to taxable income brought into

Thailand from 1 January 2024 onwards.

.

DI. Paw. 161 was issued as new guidance for Revenue Department officers in interpreting Section 41

of the Code and overrules the previous interpretation. Section 41 of the Code rules that an individual

shall pay personal income tax in Thailand under the following two rules:

I. Source rule: A taxpayer who derives income from employment, a business carried out in Thailand, a

business of an employer residing in Thailand, or from a property situated in Thailand shall pay Thai

personal income tax on such income.

II. Resident rule: A Thai tax resident who derives income from employment or business carried out

abroad or from a property situated abroad shall pay tax in Thailand upon bringing such assessable

income into Thailand.

Any person staying in Thailand for a period or periods aggregating 180 days or more in any tax year

shall be deemed a resident of Thailand.

Please note the 180-day Tax Resident Law has been in existence for a number of years but this has not been enforced or policed up to now


The Code broadly states that a Thai tax resident must pay tax on foreign-sourced income derived in

the previous tax year upon bringing it into Thailand. The Revenue Department, in 1987 (BE2530),

issued a tax ruling to extend a condition for Thailand to impose tax on income from a foreign source,

that the assessable income must be brought into Thailand in the same calendar year that the income

is received (the Revenue Department's tax ruling no. Gor. Kor. 0802/696 dated 1 May 1987). Since

then, the Revenue Department and Thai resident taxpayers have relied on this interpretation that

foreign-sourced income is exempt from Thai personal income tax if the income is brought into

Thailand in a calendar year following the year in which the income is received. This long-standing

interpretation has also significantly influenced tax planning for individuals with offshore businesses

and assets.

The new interpretation provided in DI. Paw. 161 is likely to significantly impact Thai resident

individuals who derive income from employment, business and assets abroad. For example, Mr. A, a

Thai tax resident, had income from selling shares in a Singapore company in 2020 and kept the share

consideration, including the capital gain in a bank account in Singapore. If Mr. A brings the proceeds

from the capital gain into Thailand in 2024, he must include the capital gain from selling Singapore

shares as his assessable income and pay personal income tax for the calendar year 2024.

Alternatively, if Mr. A transfer the capital gain proceeds to his bank account in Thailand within 2023,

the capital gain is still exempt from Thai personal income tax under the current interpretation.

The new rule raised concerns from multiple stakeholders, for example:

• There are concerns from small to medium individual investors investing in overseas stocks.

One point raised is that it appears unfair for investors who invest in overseas stocks if the

capital gain will be subject to Thai personal income tax at progressive rates, while capital gain

from trading Thai stocks via the Stock Exchange of Thailand is tax-exempt.

• Expatriates living in Thailand also raised concerns about unclear tax conditions on taxable

foreign-sourced income. One point raised is whether the pension fund they receive from their

home country’s government and or Private Pension will also be taxed when remitting into Thailand. Under the new

interpretation, the pension fund is likely to be considered income from a foreign source that is

taxable if it is related to the employment or business of the taxpayer overseas. Therefore, if

an expat receives a pension in 2024 from their work or business in the past, the pension will

be taxable in the year that the expat remits income into Thailand.

This point really needs to be clarified as this will have a huge impact on foreigners living in the kingdom.


• Another issue that needs clarifying is whether spending in Thailand from earnings kept in a bank


account overseas via e-banking or debit cards will be considered remitting income into

Thailand and, as a result, taxable in Thailand. If this point of deemed remitting of income is

still unclear, it will eventually impact Thailand’s economy since foreigners will be cautious

about bringing money to spend in Thailand.

In addition to that if this is to go ahead it could have a huge impact on the property market as foreign ownership of condos depends on money being transferred from a foreign bank to pay for the condo using the FET form.

• It is also important to mention the taxpayer’s burden in providing proof of foreign tax credit.

Where Thai domestic law is still silent about a foreign tax credit available for individual

taxpayers under this circumstance, a provision under double tax treaties could provide relief

from any double tax arising. However, the conditions, methodologies, and documents

supporting the claim are still unclear.

According to the Revenue Department, it will seek opinions from the stakeholders affected by the new

rule and issue guidelines to provide more clarity. The plan includes an amendment of the personal

income tax return form to facilitate the foreign tax credit claim.

During the period of unclarity, we recommend that Thai resident taxpayers review their income from a

foreign source that has been kept in an offshore bank account and consider bringing such income into

Thailand within December 2023.

Interestedly the benefits of the LTR visa have been updated by the BOI Board of Investment to include tax free foreign transfers.

It would be good to see that extended towards Non-O Retirement and Married Visa holders too to put peoples mind at ease regarding this.

Please feel free to reach out to Lawyers for Expats Thailand if you have any questions or require further

Information re this or any matter.

Contact Brian Ramsden our General Manager of Foreign Affairs to arrange a Free Consultation +66956583038 WhatsApp ad Line or email info@lawyersforexpatsthailand.com

We will share any updates as they become available to us.







Disclaimer

The information contained, and views expressed, herein are for general guidance only, and are not to be construed as representing a professional opinion of Lawyers for Expats Thailand. No

responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions, howsoever caused, that this publication may contain, or for any losses sustained by any person as a result of reliance on

any information contained herein.

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1 Comment


miraklesofgod
Nov 06, 2023

This isn't good news unfortunately.

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