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Thailand is becoming an important destination for many companies, both from commercial and investment point of view. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming you and clarifying doubts with insightful information for enterprises and business professionals.
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On November 1st 2019, the Thai Ministry of Interior published two announcements regarding the fees for property registrations. One announcement is related to condominiums, the other announcement for land and buildings. According to the notifications, the registration fee for the transfer of ownership of a condominium, or a land and building at the Land Office will be reduced from 2% to 0.01%. The reduction only applies if the value of the condominium, or land and building, does not exceed 3 million THB.
The fee for the registration of a mortgage on a condominium, or land and building at the Land Office will be reduced from 1 percent to 0.01 percent if the value of the mortgage is not more than 3 million THB.
This regulation is effective since November 2nd, 2019 and until December 24th, 2020.
Feel free to contact us if there are any questions regarding the registration of property at the Land Office at [email protected].
As the Thai Baht is under pressure due to imbalanced capital flows, thus unusually strong in comparison to foreign currencies, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) decided to loosen rules to facilitate capital outflows. MOF and BOT expect these measures will lessen pressure on the Thai Baht. These regulations are effective since November 8th, 2019 and include facilitations on:
From a practical perspective it is particularly interesting that the threshold, based on which additional verification and documentation need to be provided to commercial banks when outward transfers are conducted, has been increased. This threshold was increased from 50.000 USD to now 200.000 USD. This relaxation of the regulation is aiming to facilitate foreign exchange transactions by reducing the burden of providing documentation. As a consequence, outward transfers – especially for companies and businessmen – will now be swifter and easier to handle.
If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to ask at [email protected].
When importing a boat from oversea to Thailand – even if it is solely for personal use and not for running a business – it is necessary to register the boat at the Marine Department in charge. Which department is in charge is determined by the mooring of the boat. To complete the registration process, the following documents are required:
In case a pre-owned boat is imported, additional documents are required as follows:
If the boat is neither registered as a Thai boat nor is operated under the Thai flag, the boat can remain in Thailand only for a limited time. The boat has to be brought out of Thailand after the permitted time has expired, thus if the boat shall be operated in Thailand without time restriction, it must be registered as a Thai boat.
There is no limitation regarding the number of boats which can be registered under the same person. However, the applicant for the boat registration must be the same person as the importer and the person on the purchase agreement. If the names differ, the registration cannot be done. Therefore, it is recommendable to complete the registration at the Marine Department under the buyer’s name as a first step, after the boat is imported. After the registration is completed, the transfer of the boat should go smoothly.
Please note: a boat registration for a foreign individual is possible, but a foreign company is not permitted to register a boat under its name. If a company wants to register a boat under its name, at least 70% of the shares have to be held by Thai nationals.
If there are any questions regarding the import of a boat to Thailand, feel free to contact us at [email protected].
After Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2562 (2019) (PDPA) was passed into law, numerous provisions related to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data will come into effect on May 27th, 2020.
This includes strict requirements for every natural or juristic person who has the power to decide about the collection, use, or disclosure of personal data. Such a data controller must, according to Section 23 PDPA, inform the data owner of the following:
A privacy statement is not required if the person or type of use, collection or disclosure of personal data is exempted by Section 4 PDPA, e.g.:
As circumstances differ for each data controller, a specific Privacy Statement is recommended for the respective case. A standard template may be feasible for a simple website of a small business, but is not recommendable for larger operations, as the statement also must cover the collection, use, and disclosure of offline data (like data from CCTV, or hand files). A properly drafted privacy statement will help companies to comply with the law and avoid liability.
Typically, a hyperlink to the full text of the privacy statement should be provided at the company’s website and in its publications such as newsletters.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about the privacy statement at [email protected].
As many foundations operate schools, or orphanages the possibility to own land is one of the key questions for them.
Under certain circumstances, a foundation may own property in Thailand. However, if a foundation has objectives that focus particularly or mainly on the benefit of foreigners, it may be deemed to be a foreign entity and may not own land in Thailand, referring to the Land Code, section 94 (4).
When reviewing the application for a transfer of ownership of land from a third party to a foundation, the Land Office will check the objectives and articles of association of the foundation, as well as interview the board of directors of the foundation. If it is found that the objectives are for foreigners, children that do not have Thai nationality, or have the purpose specifically for the benefits of foreigners, the transfer of ownership will not be allowed to the foundation.
Furthermore, the foundation should be established, especially for public charity, religious, art, scientific, educational, or another purpose for the public benefit and not for sharing profit. The property of a foundation must be managed to serve the objectives of the foundation, and not for the benefit of a third person.
If there are any questions regarding this matter, feel free to ask at [email protected].
The Thai Foreign Business Act (“FBA”), A.D. 1999, prohibits foreigners from engaging in certain business sectors, including most of service businesses, without a Foreign Business License (“FBL”) or Foreign Business Certificate (“FBC”). However, the FBC will be granted swiftly for Americans, in most business areas, because of the US-Thai Amity Treaty of 1966, which gives exclusive rights and benefits to citizens of the USA who wish to establish a business in Thailand.
The treaty aims to provide significant advantages for U.S. investors to run businesses in Thailand for both corporations and individuals. In particular, the treaty grants the USA nationals two significant trade advantages:
A successful application for the US-Thai Amity Treaty by a corporation will require that the following criteria are met:
Further, the following activities are not subject to the treaty and remain reserved for Thais:
Procedure of the application:
The application process for the US-Thai Amity can be described as follows:
If you have any questions regarding the US-Thai Amity Treaty, feel free to contact us at [email protected]
1. TM30 FORM
The TM30 form is an obligation for any house owner, possessor of a dwelling place or a hotel manager (“Hosts”) to declare a foreigner residing on his property (“Guest”) within 24 hours. This notification of residence, resulting from Section 38 of the Immigration Act (2522 B.E-1979) is now strictly imposed.
According to Section 77 of the Immigration Act, whoever fails to comply with the provisions of Section 38, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand baht. However, if the host is a hotel manager, the punishment shall be by a fine from 2,000 THB to 10,000 THB.
Even if according to the law, it is clear that the obligation of notification and punishment belongs exclusively to the Hosts, the worst consequences fall on the Guest for the following reasons:
Therefore, to avoid incurring further problems, the Guest is forced to pay the fine, even though it was issued against a third party (the Hosts) for a violation for which the Guest is not responsible (to file the TM30 form). The TM30 form registration can be done at the immigration office, by post, or online and the form can be downloaded via the following link: http://bangkok.immigration.go.th/en/base.php?page=download
The following documents are required for the registration:
For foreigners residing in Thailand:
For the Hosts:
Please note: If the foreigner is the Host, he still has to register himself.
Legal consequences and exemptions
In case of failure, it is not possible to make several requests:
The registration is free, but with a delay of more than 48 hours, a fine of THB 800 up to THB 2,000 depending on the duration of the delay will be payable.
At present, it’s not possible to predict if this measure will be permanent or reworked. The strengthening of this measure is justified with a fight against the terrorist threat. The control of the TM30 has not yet been observed when departing at airports; however, it is now strictly required for any renewal of visa and 90-day notification.
Several exceptions exist:
2. PERMANENT RESIDENCE
Holders of a so-called “Permanent Residency Permit” are not obliged to present the TM30 report.
There are also other benefits of holding a permit for permanent residency in Thailand. A person with a permanent resident status can
The permanent residence permit is also the first step to become a naturalized citizen of Thailand. It entitles the non-Thai family members of the permanent resident to apply for such status as well.
The application for the permanent residence permit requires patience and persistence since the process might take up to one year. The applications are processed by the Royal Thai Immigration Commission every year during a specific period that varies each year but usually starts in October and ends in December.
Thailand has an annual quota of 100 persons per country.
An applicant must meet the following criteria to become one of the top 100 people on the qualifying list:
Meeting one of the following categories:
The permanent residence permit never expires. Nevertheless, it can be revoked for some reasons. Furthermore, travelling out of Thailand and returning requires a re-entry permit even if holding a permanent residence permit.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about the Permanent Residency Permit.
The Thai Land Code stipulates that – apart from a few exemptions – foreigners are not permitted to own land in Thailand. Many foreigners seeking to buy immovable property in Thailand, therefore, chose legal structures like leasehold, usufruct, or ownership of the property by a Thai company, to mitigate the restrictions. However, these legal structures have weaknesses and, if not set up properly, may even involve legal risks. To encourage foreigners to invest in property in Thailand, the Thai National Legislative Assembly on February 8th, 2019, passed the Sap-Ing-Sith Act. The Sap-Ing-Sith Act was published in the Royal Gazette on April 26th, 2019 and will come into effect on October 27th, 2019. The new law is aiming to encourage foreigners to invest in immovable property to boost the economy in Thailand. Requirements, as well as the rights and obligations of the Sap-Ing-Sith, are as follows:
Definition of Sap-Ing-Sith
The Sap-Ing-Sith grants its holder the right to use an immovable property and can be established on land with a valid Chanote (Land title deed), buildings placed on land plots held under a valid Chanote and condominium units as defined in the Condominium Act. It is possible to register a Sap-Ing-Sith for a period of up to 30 years. The Sap-Ing-Sith has to be made in writing and registered at the competent land office.
Registration of a Sap-Ing-Sith
After the parties reached an agreement, the registration of the Sap-Ing-Sith at the Land Department takes place in two stages; first, the Property-Owner has to register a Sap-Ing-Sith for the property. After registration of the Sap-Ing-Sith, the transfer to the other party has to be registered. The registration fee is 20,000 THB. If the land plot where Sap-Ing-Sith should be registered is subject to a mortgage, consent from the mortgage holder is required. After registration, the Sap-Ing-Sith holder will receive a certificate of the Sap-Ing-Sith from the Land Office, which he can use to prove his right. The Land Office will also keep a copy of this certificate.
Rights and duties in relation to the Sap-Ing-Sith
There are several rights and obligations in relation to the Sap-Ing-Sith, which are surpassing the rights of a standard leasehold. The most significant rights and duties are shown as follows:
Rights of the Sap-Ing-Sith holder:
Duties of the Sap-Ing-Sith holder:
Rights of the Property-owner:
The execution of all rights mentioned above requires written consent by the Sap-Ing-Sith holder.
Obligations of the Property-owner:
As foreigners will be permitted to hold a Sap-Ing-Sith, it might become an interesting alternative to other legal structures that allow foreigners to possess land in Thailand. Also, when keeping in mind the advantages of the Sap-Ing-Sith, like the possibility to mortgage it, and the right to sell the Sap-Ing-Sith without consent of the owner, there are many scenarios where a Sap-Ing-Sith can be very useful. The Sap-Ing-Sith is not a game-changer, as the maximum period is still 30 years and thus the same duration as a normal leasehold. And most other rights that the Sap-Ing-Sith grants could also be granted with a standard leasehold agreement. But still, the Sap-Ing-Sith Act shows the ongoing liberalization of the Thai property market, which will certainly be welcomed by foreign investors. We expect that most foreign property buyers will likely prefer the new Sap-Ing-Sith over the traditional registered lease.
We will monitor the impact of the Sap-Ing-Sith on the Thai property market when it comes into effect and will keep you updated. If you have any questions regarding this matter, feel free to contact us at [email protected].
In 2015, the Court of Appeal for Specialized Cases was authorized by the Establishment of the Court of Appeal for Specialized Cases Act B.E. 2558 to try and decide cases appealed from specialized courts. The adjudication process involves a forum of judges with specific knowledge and expertise in each area and will create uniformity in the appellate adjudication.
It must be noted that cases in which a judgment was rendered before shall follow the appeal procedure of the previously applicable law. On the contrary, cases where the appeal has been submitted, shall proceed in trial and adjudication. Regarding dispute over jurisdiction, the President of the Court of Appeal for Specialized Cases shall issue a ruling and it is considered final.
The Court of Appeal for Specialized Cases has five divisions: Intellectual Property and International Case Division, Tax Case Division, Labor Case Division, Bankruptcy Case Division, and Juvenile and Family Case Division.
Intellectual Property and International Case Division
This division has the purpose of adjudicating cases that are submitted for an appellate review of a judgment rendered by the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court under the adjudication of judges with specific knowledge and insight in the field. Additionally, this division is empowered to decide civil and criminal cases regarding intellectual property and international trade. The types of cases include civil and criminal cases concerning trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
Tax Case Division
The Tax Case division is mostly about disputes between the public and private sector regarding the assessment or collection of tax and revenue by public officers. The forum of judges then consists of those that have specific knowledge and insight on tax problems. The types of cases that are filed to the Court are appeals against any decision of any competent officer, claims by the state over tax and revenue debt, or tax refunds.
Labor Case Division
Cases in this division are about disputes between employers and employees, for example regarding employment agreements, or rights of employers and employees under the labor protection law and labor relations law. This also includes an appeal against a decision of the competent official under the law of labor protection and cases arising from wrongful acts between employers and employees. Therefore, this division is authorized to decide over the appeal of cases on labor law.
Bankruptcy Case Division
The Bankruptcy Case division is authorized to adjudicate bankruptcy cases according to the law on bankruptcy. This division can also decide over appeals of civil cases and criminal cases under the bankruptcy law.
Juvenile and Family Case Division
This division is empowered to review the appeal of a judgment or order by the juvenile and family court by applying the provision of the Civil Procedure Code or the Criminal Procedure Code. However, appeals are prohibited when the judgment is concerning a child over ten years but not over fifteen years of age, or the change of criminal punishments into lenient punishments for minors.
Cases that are filed to the division concerning criminal offences committed by a minor, cases that are transferred by the Court having jurisdiction over the case, family law, well-being protection cases, or cases that a minor shall be tried before a juvenile and family court.
If you have any questions regarding this matter, feel free to contact us at [email protected]