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23 September 2002

Taxation on Insurance Agents Under Review

An official at the Commerce Ministry has questioned the current tax burden placed on insurance agents. Considered as businesses rather than employees, insurance agents whose annual incomes exceed 1.2 million baht are subject to 7% VAT on top of the 30% income tax they are normally charged. Considering this practice as not only unfair, but also discouraging to those considering the profession, a Ministry official has initiated discussions between the Insurance Department and the Revenue Department to address this issue.


19 September 2002

New BOI Factory Zoning Rules Proposed

127 industries in seven sectors may be allowed more freedom for development once the Board of Investment eases existing zoning rules. Investors in these industries had complained that the existing restrictions made their projects less competitive and sometimes unviable. The new rules would allow factories to locate anywhere in Thailand and still be eligible for existing incentives. Critics cite the original intent of the zoning laws, encouraging investors to locate in less economically developed provinces, and the environmental impact of allowing increased development in areas with inadequate infrastructure as faults of the new rules. The new rules would allow factories to be build closer to raw materials or transportation centers. Environmentally harmful businesses would not be allowed to open anywhere in an effort to minimize the projected environmental impact.


11 September 2002

Foreign Executives Guilty of Work Permit Offenses

In an unprecedented decision the Southern Bangkok District Court found three foreign executives guilty of work permit violations, ruling that they were performing work outside of the scope of the duties set forth in their work permits. In particular, the court ruled that the three executives were not authorized to manage assets of other firms. While the offences were considered by the court as "petty", and the three employees and their employer were fined 44,000 baht, the first of its kind ruling has pricked the ears of firms with foreign employees. Other advisory firms, like the one in violation of the laws, are expected to review their employees duties so as to avoid being in non-compliance with the duties outlined in their work permits.


10 September 2002

BOI Extends Tax-Free Import Timeline

Businesses receiving promotional privileges from the Board of Investment have been granted extensions for importing machinery tax free. Businesses importing machinery will have an additional 6 months to import machinery and an additional 6 months for beginning operations. As of October 1, businesses will have 30 months from the date they were granted privileges to import machines and 36 months to start operations. Only large machinery valued at over 500 million baht will be eligible for any further extensions.


6 September 2002

New Act to Establish Rules for Retail

Following passage of the new Retail Act, both foreign and local retail and wholesale businesses will need to get permission prior to setting up their establishments. The law has been proposed in the face of changes to the retail landscape most notably from the introduction and proliferation of large multi-national mega-stores. Local retailers claim that foreign owned super-stores have exploited legal loop-holes in order to unfairly capture a majority of retail sales. They have pressured government to place stricter controls on zoning and operating hours in particular. Prospective retail operators in Bangkok would need a license from a newly formed committee and operators in outside provinces would need approval from provincial committees.


27 August 2002

Pollution Control Disclosure Requested

A new rule passed by the Pollution Control Department will require factories to disclose their monthly expenses regarding their waste treatment facilities. The rule, supported by the 1992 Environmental Act, hopes to reduce the number of factories that do not operate their treatment facilities. However, some industry officials claim that disclosing their operating costs may affect their competitiveness.

Categories for Alien Workers Reduced and Simplified

In an effort to more closely monitor the employment of immigrant workers, the Labor and Social Welfare Ministry is attempting to restructure the classification of alien work permits. Recent abuses by women working in the sex industry under one of the previous categories is one example of reasons the changes are being instituted. Furthermore, only those who registered themselves in the past year as foreign laborers will be eligible to reapply for renewed permits in the 6 new categories, reduced from the previous number of 10.


26 August 2002

E-Commerce Entangled in Direct Sales and Marketing Business Law

Major changes to the Telecom Business Law were endorsed by the Cabinet yesterday. Most significant waste proposal to lift the 25% cap on foreign shareholding to allow for 49%. The 5% limit was a source of much contention within the business . Other changes include the banning of the 3,000 baht service deposit that was collected by operators. Refunds are being made to end consumers in the form of services rather than cash refunds. Some operators have asserted that allowing foreign investment actually strengthens the local economy.

New Licensing Rules May Open the Door to Small Local Liquor Distillers

New rules regarding liquor licensing, if enacted, may waive factory size and minimum daily production requirement and could open the door for small, local liquor distillers. Previous standards allowed a few large producers to control the liquor production market. Authorities claim that they support easing restrictions to promote smaller business development but also state that there could be difficulties enforcing standards and tax collection. Another concern is how the new laws would affect liquor consumption in Thai society.


25 August 2002

VAT Increase Delayed by Finance Ministry

Despite calls by the International Monetary Fund to raise the VAT to 10% in order to reduce public debt, the Finance Ministry has resolved to maintain the current 7% rate for another year. A ministry spokesman explains that holding the tax rate at its current level will reduce the cost of living for consumers while the economy is still in economic recovery. The rate had been reduced from 10% to 7% last year in order to stimulate the economic growth. The rate is now scheduled to be raised to 9% on October 1, 2003.


22 August 2002

Retirement Ages Reclassified

State officials, who previously could choose to retire at age 60, are now subject to new, more specific guidelines. Amendments to the Pension Act will allow officials to retire at 50, 55, 60, or 70 depending on their position and nature of their responsibilities. Those with service jobs, high risk occupations, and those with more than 25 years of employment would be eligible for the earliest retirement ages. Additional pensions would be offered as incentive to retire early. However, certain officials, particularly specialists, would be eligible to stay on after 60 years of age.


19 August 2002

Anti-dumping Steel Duties Upsets Local Steel Users

Anti-dumping measures imposed in July are adversely affecting local steel users they complain. The measures, intended to temporarily protect local steel manufacturers, are increasing costs for manufacturers using steel. Industry and Commerce ministry officials concede that manufacturers using local steel have been forced to increase prices, but maintain that the measures were necessary to provide relief to the debt-ridden local steel manufacturers. The ministries claim that while it is difficult to please all parties, discussions are underway to develop a compromise.


15 August 2002

Commercial Registration Available Via Internet

Applications to the Commercial Registration Department for the registration of a juristic person may now be made via the internet. Those wishing to register as juristic person ordinary partnership, limited partnership, or limited company with a head office in Bangkok may submit an application on

Correspondence with the Registrar, regarding discrepancies in the application, will be made via email. Once the Registrar agrees that the application is complete and accurate an applicant can print out the application for presentation to partners and directors. Signed applications must then be submitted to the Central Business Registration Section, Business Registration Office of the Commercial Registration Department, Nonthaburi in person or by post.

The new procedures were enacted in January, 2002 in order to provide greater convenience to those applying for juristic person registration. Payment for an application can likewise be submitted via internet banking service or at the Commercial Registration Department when the paper application is submitted.

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