Thailand hits all imports with 7% VAT to create level playing field


April 29, 2024

From May, all imported goods will be subjected to a 7% value-added tax (VAT), the Finance Ministry said.

Currently, VAT is not applied to goods costing less than 1,500 baht.

Lavaron Sangsnit, the ministry’s permanent secretary, said on Monday that the Cabinet has greenlit the decision to impose VAT on all imported goods, regardless of the price.

“Imposing this tax will ensure fairness within the local trading system. Goods purchased from overseas through online platforms will now be subject to VAT, much like goods purchased from stores locally,” he said.

Import duties, however, remain under the purview of the Customs Department and will continue being applied in line with the World Customs Organisation, he said.

Lavaron said that initially, VAT applied on low-cost goods bought online will fall under the jurisdiction of the Customs Department. However, in the long term, the Finance Ministry will have to amend the Revenue Code under the Revenue Department.

Once that is done, he said, adjustments will be introduced gradually.

“In the Revenue Code, tax laws are consolidated, allowing for VAT to be collected only on goods subject to import duties. Since no customs duty is charged for imported goods worth less than 1,500 baht, they are also exempted from VAT,” Lavaron said. “However, the Finance Ministry is working on separating the two tax components to allow VAT to be collected from the first baht, ensuring fairness within the tax system.”

Initially, the 7% VAT will be collected by the Customs Department, as currently done for goods costing more than 1,500 baht, he said.

Later discussions will be held with online retailers to ensure the 7% VAT is collected at the point of sale and remitted directly to the Revenue Department.

It is believed that the new measure will improve the competitiveness of local small businesses and control the influx of cheap Chinese products being sold via e-commerce platforms like Lazada, Shopee and TikTok Shop.

Source: The Nation