In the wake of shared global challenges, tourism and green growth is the way forward for Thailand’s sustainable economy. Specifically, a relevant government panel has set up a plan to develop the country as an international hub and targeted Thailand as the world’s foremost destination for the medical industry and wellness tourism. Still, a dream without a plan is just a wish. In response, the legal scheme to transform Thailand into a comprehensive medical hub was initially implemented. Cannabis liberalization will further strengthen Thailand’s position as a global medical hub with affordable healthcare.
In driving Thai economic sustainable development forwards, the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand (MOPH) has refined re-emerging health aid. On 14 December 2020, MOPH announced the notification on the specification of controlled narcotic drugs under category 5, B.E.2563 (2020), to remove some parts of cannabis and hemp from category 5 under Narcotics Act B.E.2522 (1979). The following components of cannabis and hemp, as well as a substance derived from those parts, do not constitute narcotics under such regulation:
9 June 2022 marks a thoughtful day of observance of the cannabis industry in Thailand; the government of Thailand has delisted “all” parts of cannabis and hemp from banned narcotic lists under the notification of specification of controlled narcotic drugs under category 5, B.E.2665 (2022). Under this “Standard”, all cannabis and hemp “extracts” remain considered narcotics, except for the following:
Following the recent official decriminalization of cannabis and hemp, this transformation would enable the widespread of herbal medicinal cannabis treatments and marijuana-infused food. Specifically, traditional cannabis cuisine will officially be back on the menu. For educational purposes, this would allow more laboratories to grow cannabis and hemp without an overwhelming loss its resources for approval from relevant authorities. Importantly, using parts of cannabis and hemp plants would not constitute a violation of this legal standard. Although Thailand legalized growing cannabis and eased such consumption rules, smoking cannabis in public may be considered a public nuisance and remains unauthorized. Moreover, the importation, exportation, and distribution of cannabis and hemp parts, as well as its derived products containing THC over 0.2 percent by weight, remain stringently controlled by relevant specific laws, including the Plant Quarantine Act B.E.2507 (1964) and Plants Act B.E.2518 (1975).
In the light of laws and economic junctions, it is worth noting that although such continuing steps for unlocking the cannabis industry have been done, many relevant activities pertaining to the usage of cannabis and hemp will be monitored by newly enacted legislation thereafter, i.e., the Cannabis and Hemp Act. The law will then act as the detailed regulation framework and seal off remaining legal loopholes for the following activities relating to cannabis and hemp;
Specifically, under this upcoming regulation, any person who wishes to pursue the above-mentioned activities shall obtain the required license from relevant authorities. The forthcoming legislation will also impose legal limitations for avoiding the abuse of cannabis and hemp in children (under age 20) and pregnant or lactating women.
Amid a shifting legal landscape and future outlook of cannabis and hemp markets, we would be happy to guide you through successfully accessing this developing market with safety compliance with regulations. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at [email protected]
This article was written by Nathathai Pichaisawad, Senior Associate, FRANK Legal & Tax
As the economy recovers from the COVID-19 crisis, Thailand is again attracting more and more tourists to the country. Visitor numbers are increasing, and short-term rental businesses through platforms such as Airbnb, including daily rentals via other online platforms, are gradually becoming more popular, encouraging villa and apartment owners to set up short-term rentals to allow tourists to stay in their properties.
Problematically, however, properties in Thailand are generally not allowed to be rented out for less than 30 days unless you have a hotel license, while condominium units are restricted to being used for short-term rentals under Thai Condominium laws.
Acting contrary to these requirements may constitute a criminal offense under Thai law.
Online rental platform – what is it?
An online rental platform is an online marketplace for travelers looking for accommodation, for example, Airbnb, Agoda, or Booking.com. The groundbreaking model allowing private landlords to host vacationers and business travelers has effectively transformed the digital platform into the “world’s largest hotel”.
Online rental platform’s legal status is still uncertain
Online rental platforms continue to face massive criticism for being major competitors to regular hotel and accommodation businesses. Hotel owners are not pleased about declining revenues while continuing to pay the overhead costs for their properties. As a result, they view online rental platforms such as the Airbnb model as an unacceptable hardship. As a result, like other countries, Thailand has imposed restrictions against Airbnb and its operations.
We have to be focused on two Acts, the Condominium Act B.E. 2522 (1979) (the “Condominium Act”) and the Hotel Act B.E. 2547 (2004) (the “Hotel Act”).
The Condominium Act, section 17/1 paragraph 2 states that no person shall be permitted to operate their business in the condominium except for the provided specific area of the condominium building. This regulation applies to short-term rentals via an online platform.
Another concern is the Hotel Act. Under the Hotel Act, the definition of “hotel” is a lodging premise established for commercial purposes to provide temporary accommodation to a traveler or any person for consideration. Therefore, a monthly rental or more is exempt from the definition of temporary accommodation of the Hotel Act.
Section 1336 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code (“CCC”) states that the unit owner can enjoy his rights over his property if it does not disturb others. However, the Condominium Act, which governs the usage of the condominium unit, prohibits the condominium owner from using his condominium unit for short-term rental.
Regarding landed property, the related piece of legislation is the Hotel Act which is, in principle, the same as for the condominium unit, which restricts the usage to short-term rental, except if such house owners have a hotel license. If the house owner has more than 4 rooms and is entitled to hold more than 20 occupants at a time, the property owner is entitled to apply for a hotel license to operate a short-term rental legally.
On the other hand, the house owner is entitled to apply for the non-hotel license if the property has fewer than 4 rooms and cannot hold more than 20 tourists at a time but still wants to operate a short-term rental. The owner has to apply for a non-hotel license. This will allow a short-term rental of a house to be valid and legal.
There are some specific requirements for each type of license. For example, for a non-hotel license, the owner must be a Thai national. Foreigners or juristic persons may not apply for this type of license. The reasoning behind this rule is to increase local people’s income, who could use their houses as accommodation for tourists as their additional main income source. The hotel license has stricter requirements than non-hotel licenses, such as hotels may not be located near historical sites, and entrance to the hotel must not cause traffic problems. Moreover, before applying for a hotel license, the building must also comply with the Building Control Act B.E. 2522. The regulation stipulates many more obligations for the applicant to comply with.
The legality of online short-term rental platforms in Thailand is still up in the air. The condominium is not allowed to rent on a daily or weekly basis. However, this is not a general rule, and it depends on whether each condominium regulation allows it.
In order to legally operate a short-term rental business, the house owner requires a hotel or a non-hotel license, as the case may be, subject to the Hotel Act. A house with fewer than 4 rooms and 20 occupants maximum shall obtain a non-hotel license; however, a house with more than 4 rooms and more than 20 occupants in the building must obtain a hotel license.
Thus, the legal status of online short-term rental platforms is still unknown as there is no clear answer by government authorities whether it is possible to do or not.
If you have any questions related to property in Thailand, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]
Our legal team recently shared our insights on Thailand introducing a new 10-year Long-Term Resident Visa at a special SwissThai Chamber of Commerce (STCC) ‘Briefing on Long-Term Resident (LTR) Visa’. See our guide on the Long-Term Resident Visa (LTR).
The event provided an opportunity to explore LTR visas related to the multiple benefits for holders, including the extendable 10 years option, and answer questions from the audience. Our team also explored who can apply and how to submit the application.
The audience asked several questions based on their own experiences of planning or trying to pursue a visa in Thailand. The event was a success, drawing attention to the importance of the rule of regulation in LTR visas in Thailand.
FRANK Legal & Tax will continue to hold events for the business community related to important legal issues, and we welcome any questions you may have about Long-Term Resident (LTR) visas in Thailand by contacting us at [email protected]
Join us at the ‘Briefing on Long-Term Resident (LTR) Visa’ in Bangkok on Thursday, 27 October
Thailand has introduced a new 10-year long-term resident visa for foreigners. In this special SwissThai Chamber of Commerce (STCC) ‘Briefing on Long-Term Resident (LTR) Visa’, we will look at the new visa, and its multiple benefits for holders, including:
Our legal team will also explore who can apply and how to submit an application.
The briefing will be held at the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit on Thursday, 27 October, from 17:30 – 18:30. Please register here
We look forward to meeting you at the event.
For more information on the LTR visa, please visit https://franklegaltax.com/thailand-long-term-resident-ltr-visa/ or contact [email protected]
When the owner of residential property changes, the last step after the visit to the land office and the receipt of the money is crucial: the handover of the keys; after this, the previous owner moves out, and the buyer moves in. At this point, all documents are handed over, a joint tour of the house is made, and meter readings and defects are noted. It makes sense to draw up a protocol for the handover of possession so that the sale of the house does not have any repercussions. We have summarized what you should pay attention to in the house handover protocol.
Summary of the most important things to remember in a handover:
As with a condominium, a house is handed over at an agreed time after the purchase contract has been signed, usually only after the money has been received.
The handover occurs under the agreed conditions, typically in a “bought as seen” condition.
Before the keys are handed over, the buyer and seller tour the property together.
Defects are noted in the handover protocol, including the “to do” list, who will take care of these, and by what date.
It also lists all the previous owner’s documents to be handed over to the new owner.
The handover protocol may also be referred to as the takeover protocol, as meter readings are recorded, and it is noted which inventory/furniture is being taken over.
The buyer and seller sign the handover protocol, and witnesses present also sign if necessary.
The goal of a handover protocol for a house or condominium is a smooth transition without legal disputes. It protects both sides: for example, the buyer can claim unlisted, missing, or required documents from the seller. If defects occur after the handover, which the seller neither concealed nor is responsible for, he does not have to pay for these to be resolved.
What should be included in a house handover protocol?
A good handover protocol checklist includes:
The Thai government recently announced that they are making some changes to the Long-Term Resident Visa (“LTR”) requirements intending to attract more foreign residents to come to Thailand.
Kindly note that although the Thai cabinet and the Board of Investment (BOI) approve of this new LTR visa, there still has not been any official announcement from the Immigration Department as yet. Therefore we are still awaiting final confirmation for the time being.
This article will detail some of the currently discussed criteria and requirements for different application categories to live, work, and do business in the country. There are four categories of eligible persons:
1. Wealthy global citizen
The following is required to be eligible as a “Wealthy global citizen”:
a. Personal Income of no less than $80,000 USD per year in the two years before applying for the visa.
b. Directly invest in Thailand as an individual investor no less than $500,000 in at least one of the below items before applying for the visa:
c. The net asset value should be no less than $1,000,000 at the time of application (excluding assets without proof of applicant’s ownership and assets without reliable market appraisal evidence such as artworks, amulets, cryptocurrencies, or memberships).
d. Health insurance with coverage not less than $50,000 with a remaining maturity of no less than ten months at the time of application or valid social security benefits which insures for hospitalization and treatment in Thailand or a deposit not less than $100,000 in a bank account at least 12 months before completing the application.
2. Wealthy Pensioner
The following is required to be eligible as a “Wealthy pensioner”:
a. 50 Years of age or older and receives a regular pension income of no less than $80,000 per year.
b. In case personal income is less than $80,000 but no less than $40,000 per year, applicants must have an investment not less than $250,000 in any of the following categories:
c. Health insurance with no less than $50,000 coverage through the entire period of stay in Thailand or social security healthcare, which insurers hospitalization treatment in Thailand.
3. Work-from-Thailand Professional
The following is required to be eligible as “work from Thailand professional”:
a. Before applying for the visa, personal income should be no less than $80,000 per year in the past two years leading up to the application. In case annual personal income is less than $80,000 but not less than $40,000 in the past two years, applicants must have a master’s degree (or above) and own intellectual property.
b. Health insurance policy with no less than $50,000 coverage through the entire period of stay in Thailand or social security healthcare, which insures for hospitalization treatment in Thailand
c. At least five years of working experience in the relevant field to the current employment
d. The current employer must have one of the following types:
4. Highly-Skilled professional
The following is required to be eligible as a “highly skilled professional”:
a. Highly skilled professionals working in business in targeted industries in Thailand.
b. Experts in targeted industries, working for a Thai government agency or a higher education institution, or a specialized training institution in Thailand
c. Personal income of no less than $80,000 per year in the past two years
d. In case annual personal income is below $80,000 but no less than $40,000 in the past two years, applicants must have a science and technology master’s degree or above or have particular highly-skilled expertise relevant to the job assignment in Thailand
e. No minimum personal income for experts working for a Thai government agency or a state-owned higher education institution, or a state-owned specialized training institution in Thailand
f. Heath insurance policy of no less than $50,000 coverage through the entire period of stay in Thailand or social security healthcare, which insures for hospitalization treatment in Thailand
g. At least five years of working experience in the targeted industries except for applicants working for a Thai government agency or a state-owned higher education institution or a state-owned specialized training institution in Thailand or applicants with a doctorate
For more information about our immigration or work permit services in Thailand, please visit www.franklegaltax.com/services/immigration-work-permits or contact us at [email protected]
Thailand’s cabinet has decided to halve the long-term resident (LTR) visa fee, bringing it down to 50,000 baht. The visa is designed for foreigners who have “high capability or potential” and would like to live in Thailand for up to ten years. This means that eligible highly skilled foreigners can now apply for the visa and pay a one-time fee of 50,000 THB in order to stay in Thailand for up to 10 years.
For full details about the long-term visa offering, please read our article here: www.franklegaltax.com/thailand-to-offer-10-year-visas-targeting-wealthy-foreigners/
The visa targets four groups of foreigners, their partners, and at most four children who are 20 years old or younger. Included in the scheme are high-income individuals, foreign pensioners, people who wish to conduct their work in Thailand, and experts from specialist fields.
Based on the revised guidelines, groups included in the scheme, such as pensioners and wealthy foreigners, are required to hold insurance coverage that is at least US$50,000, which will cover medical fees, and is valid for at least ten months, or they may show a social security certificate that covers the individual’s medical expenses while residing in Thailand. Alternatively, the applicant may use a cash deposit of at least US$100,000 that has been held in a domestic or a foreign bank account for 12 months prior to applying for the visa.
Those in the high-income earner bracket must have an average annual income of US$80,000 for two years before applying for the visa.
In order to apply under the foreign specialist’s category, the applicant is required to produce an employment contract from a company in Thailand or abroad. They must also provide evidence that they have worked in the “targeted industries” for a minimum of five of the ten years before applying for the long-term visa.
There are for those who plan to work in Thai state universities, government research institutes, specified state training institutes, or applicants who hold a Ph.D.
If you have any questions related to relocating to Thailand or related matters, please get in touch with us at [email protected]
The pledge provides security in terms of performance by transferring a movable property from pledger to pledgee. Therefore, anything considered movable property can be pledged, even an instrument. An instrument is a document in which the issuer promises payment or right to a specific person, such as a bill of lading, a bill of exchange, or a share certificate.
In the case of a share pledge, the share certificate is not pledged property but what is pledged is the right to that share. A share certificate is only a certificate that certifies the right over that share to the owner.
There are specific requirements for the share pledge as prescribed under the Civil and Commercial Code (“CCC”), including:
In practice, the share pledge is used as security for collateral. The Pledger gets the money, and the Pledgee gets the right over such pledged share. While the shares are pledged, the dividend is still paid to the shareholders.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at [email protected]
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently released the new “Flexible Plus Programme” under the Thailand Privilege Card scheme. This programme is designed to attract high-income foreigners to stay and invest in Thailand by giving them a work permit and other privileges.
The initiative offers valid cardmember privileges for at least ten years, and the minimum fee is one million baht. Under the programme, they offer three types of cards which are:
Members of this program must invest at least USD one million within a year of the approval of their membership. It should be noted that the investment options must be from one of the following categories:
Moreover, this program also gives privileges to the cardholder by changing the type of visa from Privilege Entry (PE) to a Non-Immigrant (B). Including their spouse and children, the member can change their visa type to Non-Immigrant (B). The benefit of this is that a Non-Immigrant (B) visa allows cardholders to apply for a work permit lawfully.
It should be noted that the program does not provide any benefits related to property ownership by foreigners.
Any member who wishes to extend their “Flexible Plus Programme” must show evidence of investments made every year to the TAT. Otherwise, the status will only be valid for five years.
Please let us know if you have any questions by contacting us at [email protected]
The revenue department’s announcement regarding taxing cryptocurrency has been in effect on 13 May 2018; however, investors continue to face confusion, controversy, and other difficulties.
In January, the department held a public hearing with representatives from the public and private sectors. To explore digital asset tax guidelines, representatives from the Bank of Thailand, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Thai Digital Asset Association, the Fiscal Policy Office and investor groups met to arrive at a digital asset tax collection approach appropriate for the current situation.
The guidelines are under the Revenue Code Amendment Act (No. 19) B.E. 2561 (2018). The taxable transactions must be conducted through the digital asset exchange platform under the SEC only. These are as follows:
The Revenue Department has classified cryptocurrency and digital token income earners who are expected to file personal income tax by submitting a personal income tax return (PND 90/91) by 31 March 2023 into five categories:
1.Exchange or disposal of cryptocurrencies or digital tokens
The income derived from trading, exchanging, selling, transferring, or disposal of cryptocurrency/digital tokens is regarded as assessable income under Section 40 (4) (g) of the Revenue Code Amendment Act (No. 19).
The income and profit from the sale, payment, transfer, or trading of the cryptocurrency and digital token shall be calculated as follows:
Once a costing method is selected, it must be followed throughout the tax year. And the cost must include the necessary expense such as transfer fees and other expenses.
As of the date of receipt of mining cryptocurrencies, they are not considered assessable income.
When the mined cryptocurrencies are sold, paid, transferred, or traded, they are considered assessable income under Thai Revenue Code Section 40(8) by deducting expenses incurred as necessary and reasonable. However, the miners must keep relevant documentation and prepare the cost accounting such as computer maintenance costs, employee wages, electricity bill and internet fees that occurred in the tax year, including expenses that are in the nature of investments in assets such as computers, which are gradually deducted from the property’s depreciation as required by law.
3.Getting paid in cryptocurrencies as salary or wages
The employees are paid a salary in cryptocurrencies as income, as employment is considered under Section 40 (1) assessable income.
The employees who received remuneration in cryptocurrencies are deemed as income whether from the job, or the position employees are employed. Whether a full-time or a part-time job, it is considered the recipient of the assessable income under Section 40(2).
If the employees are receiving a salary that is assessable income under Section 40 (1) and receiving wage which is assessable income under Section 40 (2) from the same employer, the recipient of the income must collectively present it under Section 40 (1).
4.Receiving cryptocurrencies as a gift, award, prize
Receiving cryptocurrency/digital tokens from giving or receiving as a gift is considered income under section 40 (8), for example, as a giveaway when participating in an event or receiving promotional rewards.
A digital cryptocurrency valuation can be made by calculating cost and revenue using its value at the time of acquisition or its average price on the date of purchase.
When receiving cryptocurrency/digital tokens and the value has been taxed, they can be used as a cost in calculating tax when sold.
5.Return on Investment from holding a digital token or cryptocurrencies such as Yield Farming or Staking.
Under Section 40 (4)(h), it is considered income: profit-sharing or similar benefits derived from holding digital tokens.
Both cost and revenue measurements for digital tokens are based on the value at the time of acquisition or the average price on the date of purchase.
In the case of receiving digital tokens and the value has been taxed, they can be used as a cost in calculating tax when sold.
If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected] or +66 02 117 9131.