The rapid outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has already caused a slowdown in the overall global economy. Governments around the world are acting decisively to protect their businesses and individuals from the economic disruption being caused by the on-going pandemic. Whether through tax cuts, investment incentives or changes to filing deadlines, tax systems will play a significant part in helping to alleviate the financial and economic turmoil that is now occurring.
In Thailand, the Government has introduced several measures to stimulate the country’s economy in light of the outbreak of COVID-19. Below is the outline of the tax measures. The Ministry of Finance, acting through Cabinet Resolutions, expects to enact further guidelines and conditions relevant to these measures:
Withholding tax deductions
To increase liquidity for individuals and business operators, the Ministry of Finance has announced a withholding tax reduction from 3% to 1.5% for the payments made from 1 April to 30 September 2020. The withholding tax will subsequently be reduced to 2% from 1 October 2020 to 31 December 2021, provided that the payment is made via e-Withholding Tax system.
- For individuals: liberal professional fees, hire of work, rewarding services or discount or any benefits derived from sales promotion; and
- For operators: companies or juristic partnerships (not including foundations and associations): commissions, royalties, liberal professional fees, hire of work fees, rewarding services or discount or any benefits derived from sale promotion.
SME interest expense deduction
Eligible SMEs can claim a 150% deduction for interest expenses incurred on loans obtained under the Government’s funding initiative providing THB 150 billion in soft loans to SMEs at an interest rate of 2 percent for the first two years. The funding of this initiative will be supported by the Government Savings Bank. The maximum loan that an eligible SME can apply for is capped at THB 20 million. To be eligible for the increased tax deduction, the SME must meet the following conditions for its most recent prior tax year ending on or before 30 September 2019:
- Have annual revenues of less than THB 500 million;
- Employ less than 200 employees; and
- Maintain one single set of accounts.
SME salary cost deduction
SME employers will be permitted a deduction of 3 times salary expenses for corporate income tax purposes for salaries paid to employees during the period from April to July 2020. To be eligible for the deduction, the following conditions must be met:
- The SME’s annual revenue should not exceed THB 500 million;
- The total number of employees should not exceed 200;
- The salaries eligible for the 300% deduction must be below THB 15,000 per month per employee;
- Employees must be insured under the social security fund system;
- The number of insured employees during the additional deduction period should not be lower than the number of insured employees at 31 December 2019.
Fast VAT refunds for “Good Exporters”
VAT operators who participate in the ‘Good Exporter’ program will receive VAT refunds within 15 days after the date of filing, provided that VAT returns are filed via e-filing system and within 45 days for those making paper filings.
Additional SSF Investment deduction for personal income tax
Individuals investing in a Super Saving Fund (SSF) having an investment policy whereby at least 65% of its net asset value consists of shares of companies traded on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, during the period from 1 April to 30 June 2020 can deduct the actual investment amount capped at THB 200,000 as an allowance for personal income tax purposes, provided that the investment in the fund will be held for at least 10 years. This allowance will be in addition to the SSF allowance threshold (30% of the total income, capped at THB 200,000) and will not be count against the retirement saving fund threshold of THB 500,000.
Personal income tax filing extension (PND.90/91)
The filing deadline for personal income tax returns (form PND.90/91) is further extended from a previously extended deadline of 30 June 2020 to the new deadline date of 31 August 2020.
Tax relief for donations to support COVID-19 measures
Donations given to support COVID-19 measures via the Revenue Department’s e-Donation system during 5 March 2020 to 5 March 2021 will be treated as follows:
- Individuals can claim cash donations as a deductible allowance for personal income tax purposes, capped at 10% of adjusted taxable income.
- Juristic persons (legal entities) can claim cash or asset donations as a deductible expense for corporate income tax purposes capped at 2% of net taxable profits.
- Donations of assets are exempt from VAT for VAT registered operators.
Corporate income tax filing extension (PND.50/51)
The filing deadlines for corporate income tax of a non-listed company is extended as follows:
- Accounting period ending 2019 (Por.Ngor.Dor 50), in case of the taxpayer to file a tax return from 1 April 2020 – 30 August 2020, the deadline will be extended to 31 August 2020; and
- Accounting period ending 2020 (Por.Ngor.Dor 51), in case of the taxpayers to file a tax return from 1 July 2020 – 29 September 2020, the deadline will be extended to 30 September 2020.
Without this tax relief measure, the regular filing and payment deadline is within 150 days from the last day of an accounting period.
While this document is updated on a regular basis, it has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, or other professional advice.
Head of Regional Tax Practice
Thailand Tax Director
Head of Regional Compliance & Investigations Practice