Setting up a Company in ThailandOur firm specializes in setting up safe and secure company structures for foreigners. Our legal and consulting staff have set-up thousands of companies in Thailand and have decades of combined experience in company registration and all facets of Thai law for foreigners. Contact us for a free consultation, we are ready to help.
Anyone planning to register a business in Thailand will have heard that it is rarely as straightforward as they would like it to be. This is particularly true for those unfamiliar with Thai laws and legal practices. The good news is that with our expertise and extensive knowledge behind you, setting up a company in Thailand has never been easier. Thanks to a range of new government incentives, from tax allowances to easier access to work permits for non-Thai nationals, a great deal is now possible that would have been unthinkable not long ago. Thailand offers a wide variety of business structures, many of which are also available to foreigners (as long as they do not violate the conditions of the Foreign Business Act). The legal form of a business can be a sole proprietorship, an ordinary or limited partnership, a representative, regional or a branch office, a joint venture, a limited company or even a foreign company. Moreover, each entity is either trading or non-trading and different rules apply towards its ownership (majority Thai vs. foreign).
Thai Limited CompanyIn most cases, the preferred first step to setting up a new business in Thailand is the establishment of a Thai limited company – a Thai equivalent of the Limited Liability Company (LLC). Unlike in the West, its creation does not happen immediately but instead a more formalised incorporation process takes place. To begin the process, there are two essential documents: the Articles of Association and the Memorandum of Association, both of which must be registered with the Thai Ministry of Commerce. Articles of Association can be tailored to suit the specific needs of a company, as long as the original shareholders and promoters (if different) agree to the terms in writing.
100% Foreign Ownership Options for Registering a Thai Company
- BOI – Board of Investment Company : A BOI promoted Thailand company can enjoy the benefits of 100% ownership, tax incentives and other government concessions.
- US Treaty of Amity Company Registration : American citizens can exercise 100% foreign ownership of a Thailand company by utilizing the Treaty of Amity agreement.
- Foreign Business License : A company may make an application for 100% foreign ownership by demonstrating a benefit to the country through technical and knowledge transfer, investment and employment factors.
- Thailand Export Company : A company registered to EXPORT ONLY with 100% of the revenues realized from outside Thailand is eligible for 100% foreign ownership.
- Thailand Manufacturing Company : A company registered to MANUFACTURE FOR EXPORT ONLY with all revenues generated from outside Thailand is eligible for 100% foreign ownership.
- Thailand Hotel Management Company : A company registered as HOTEL MANAGEMENT ONLY is eligible for 100% foreign ownership.
- Representative Office, Regional Operating Headquarters & Branch Office : Other corporate registrations for foreign registered companies are possible with each carrying specific restrictions on operations and profit/revenue generations.
Pros and Cons of a Thai Limited CompanyThai limited companies are the preferred route for setting up a business in Thailand, largely because they are so similar to co-operations in other developed nations. The process will, therefore, feel familiar to businesspeople, even if they have little or no experience of business in Thailand. All limited companies have directors, shareholders (both Thai and foreign in many cases), promoters, and limited liability. In this case, limited liability means that the shareholder in a Thai company can only ever lose what capital they invested. Aside from familiarity, Thai limited companies are a popular way of doing business because they offer any number ways of generating profit. Although there are double taxation issues (on both the earnings of the company and dividends), many of these issues can be easily resolved by rolling profits into the salaries of directors and other shareholders. Another benefit of the Thai limited company is that the rights and obligations of all parties are set down in writing, ensuring everyone has a clear understanding of their legal standing within a company, unlike some joint ventures where a number of duties and privileges can drift into a complex grey area. With a Thai limited company, all legal entitlements and responsibilities are clearly stated and available for reference when required.
Setting up a Thai Limited CompanySetting up a Thai limited company has never been easier. Before July 1, 2008, it would take approximately six weeks. Now the process can take as little as one day. What is more, only three mandatory shareholders are required to incorporate and register a new Thai limited company (as opposed to seven prior to 2008). These improvements come with an unprecedented government drive to encourage foreign business in Thailand. The door is now wide open for foreign investors, even more so following government policy changes which have streamlined the process of registering a new Thai company. If a Thai Company is majority owned by a foreigner, the foreigner must obtain a foreign business license before engaging in business activities. However, it is worth noting that a Thai limited company that is majority owned by a Thai will not encounter such restrictions. Consequently for many, it is beneficial to form a business partnership with a Thai national, in order to meet the legal definition of a “Thai company.”
Company Start-Up Costs & FeesThe costs and legal fees for setting up a Thailand company will vary based on the type of corporate structure and the overall scope of legal work. We believe in transparent, upfront and affordable pricing. Our corporate legal fees are almost entirely based on an itemized basis with the complete costs being presented in a quotation breakdown prior to commencing the legal work. We compile our costs to be fully inclusive of the associated government fees to offer a complete and comprehensive breakdown and cost analysis. We do not believe in adding fees after the fact. The government fees which are associated with the formation will include: costs for the registration of the company capitalization (per 1m baht), certification of documents, registration of memorandum, application for social fund, corporate licensing, work permit and Thai visa. Our legal and accounting professionals are ready to discuss your business needs, and answer any questions you may have.
Thailand: Tax system
- Tax Base For Resident and Foreign Companies
- Residents are taxed on worldwide income; non-residents are taxed only on Thai-sourced income. Non-residents have to pay the VAT.
|Corporate Income Tax - Net Profits||Progressive rates up to 20%|
|THB 0 - 300,000||0%|
|THB 300,000 - 3,000,000||15%|
|Over THB 3,000,000||20%|
|Petroleum income tax||Petroleum companies under a concession are taxed at the rate of 50% of their annual net profit from petroleum operations, including profit from the transfer of their concession interests and other activities incidental to the petroleum operations.|
- Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
- A domestic corporation is subject to tax on worldwide income, while a foreign corporation is subject to tax on income generated in Thailand.
- Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains are treated as ordinary income and taxed accordingly for corporate income tax purposes.
Capital gains paid to overseas recipients are subject to a 15% withholding tax, although an exemption may apply to gains derived by investors from certain tax treaty countries.
- Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
In general, all taxes are deductible except CIT and VAT. Interest on money borrowed for the purpose of acquiring profit or for the purpose of the business is deductible. Start-up expenses, such as incorporation expenses and registration fees, are deductible when incurred. Losses may be carried forward to offset against the profits of the following five accounting periods. The carryback of losses is not permitted.
Donations to specified charities or for public benefit are deductible in the amount actually paid but not exceeding 2% of net profit. Donations for education or sport are also deductible in the amount actually paid but not exceeding 2% of net profit.
- Other Corporate Taxes
- A specific business tax is collected at fixed rates on the gross revenue of certain businesses not subject to VAT, such as commercial banking, similar financial businesses, and the sale of immovable property, which are taxed at 3%, and life insurance, which is taxed at 2.5%.
At a local level, there are currently three major taxes: the house and land tax (levied annually at the rate of 12.5% of the assessed economic rental incom; the local development tax (annual rates between 0.25% and 0.95% of the value of land assessed by local authorities - this tax does not apply if the property is subject to the house and land tax); the signboard tax (levied annually on certain commercial signs or billboards at varying rates according to size and language used).
A stamp duty is levied on 28 different types of documents and instruments, including contracts for hire of work, loans, share transfers, leases of land or buildings, and insurance policies.
- Other Domestic Resources
- Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation
|Thailand||East Asia & Pacific||United States||Germany|
|Number of Payments of Taxes per Year||21.0||22.9||10.6||9.0|
|Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours)||266.0||198.0||175.0||218.0|
|Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit)||32.6||33.9||44.0||48.9|
Source: Doing Business - 2017.
Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.
- Accounting Standards
- Thai Financial Reporting Standards (TFRS) are required to be applied in the preparation and presentation of financial statements of domestic publicly accountable entities. For non-publicly accountable entities (NPAEs), “TFRS for NPAEs” are required to be applied, but NPAEs can elect to apply TFRS. Both TFRS and TFRS for NPAEs are based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), however they do not include several options permitted by the IFRS as issued by the IASB. Foreign companies are permitted to use IFRS Standards. SMEs currently use either TFRS or TFRS for NPAEs, nonetheless the Federation of Accounting Professions is expected to fully adopt IFRS Standards for SMEs as from 1 January 2019.
- Accounting Regulation Bodies
Federation of Accounting Professions of Thailand, Professional organisation of accountants and auditors that issues Thai Accounting Standards (TAS).
- Accounting Law
- The Accounting Professions Act 2004 governs the accountancy profession in Thailand.
- Difference Between National and International Standards (IAS/IFRS)
- Thai Accounting Standards (TAS), which are required for domestic companies, are substantially converged with IFRS Standards, though the financial instruments Standards that are part of IFRS Standards have not yet been adopted. TAS include several financial instruments that do not exist in IFRS Standards.
- Accounting News
IAS Plus Thailand
- Tax Year
- The tax year generally is the 12-month period ending on 31 December. However, a company may choose any accounting period that does not exceed 12 months (a shorter year is allowed only in the year of incorporation, when there is a change of accounting method or in the year of dissolution). Once chosen, the accounting period cannot be changed unless written approval is obtained from the Revenue Department.
- Accounting Reports
Firms must keep books and follow accounting procedures specified in the Civil and Commercial Code, the Revenue Code and the Accounts Act. Documents may be prepared in any language, provided that a Thai translation is attached. Each company has to produce a balance sheet and a profit and loss account for each accounting year. The external control of accounts must be given to a body of auditors chosen by the company and by the commercial department of the ministry of Treasury.
Public limited companies must disclose the following information in their annual reports: company name, location of the head office, type of business, details of shares issued and shares held in subsidiaries (if any), details of directors regarding any conflict of interest in service contracts entered into by the company during each financial year and their shareholdings in the company or in subsidiaries and any changes during the year.
- Publication Requirements
Each company has to produce a balance sheet and a profit and loss account for each accounting year.
A mid-year profit forecast entails advance payment of corporate taxes. On Annual Accounts, any newly-established company or partnership should close accounts within 12 months from the date of its registration. Thereafter, the accounts should be closed every 12 months. The performance record is to be certified by the company auditor, approved by shareholders, and filed with the Commercial Registration Department, Ministry of Commerce, within five months of the end of the fiscal year, and with the Revenue Department, Ministry of Finance, within 150 days of the end of the fiscal year. If a company wishes to change its accounting period, it must obtain written approval from the Director General of the Revenue Department.
- Auditors are licensed and governed by the Federation of Accounting Professions (FAP). Accounting standard, auditing standard, and other standard relating to accounting professions are all established by the FAP.
- Professional Accountancy Bodies
Federation of accounting Profession
- Member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)
- The Thai Federation of Accounting Professions is a member of IFAC.
- Nature of the Tax
- Value Added Tax (VAT) has been implemented in Thailand since 1992 replacing Business Tax (BT). VAT is an indirect tax imposed on the value added of each stage of production and distribution.
- Standard Rate
- The standard rate of VAT is 10%, but the rate is currently reduced to 7% until 30 September 2018 (unless further extended by the government)
- Reduced Tax Rate
Certain activities are liable to VAT at the rate of zero percent:
- export of goods;
- services rendered in Thailand and utilized outside Thailand in accordance with rule, procedure and condition prescribed by the Director-General;
- aircraft or sea-vessels engaging in international transportation;
- supply of goods and services to government agencies or state-owned enterprises;
- supply of goods and services to the United Nations and its agencies as well as embassies, consulate-general and consulates;
- supply of goods and services between bonded warehouses or between enterprises located in EPZs.
- Exclusion From Taxation
- Certain activities are exempted from VAT: Small entrepreneur whose annual turnover is less than 1.8 million baht; Sales and import of unprocessed agricultural products and related goods such as fertilizers, animal feeds, pesticides, etc.; Certain basic services such as healthcacre, education, etc.
- Method of Calculation, Declaration and Settlement
- Tax base of VAT is the total value received or receivable from the supply of goods or services. Value means money, property, consideration, service fees, or any other benefits which is ascertainable in terms of money. Tax base will also include any Excise tax arises in connection with such supply. However, tax base is exclusive of the value added tax itself and does not include any discounts or allowances, but only if discounts or allowances are clearly shown in the tax invoices.
- Other Consumption Taxes
- Tax Base For Residents and Non-Residents
- Taxpayers are classified into “resident” and “non-resident”. “Resident” means any person residing in Thailand for a period or periods aggregating more than 180 days in any tax (calendar) year. A resident of Thailand is liable to pay tax on income from sources in Thailand as well as on the portion of income from foreign sources that is brought into Thailand. A non-resident is, however, subject to tax only on income from sources in Thailand.
|Individual income tax||Progressive rate from 0 to 35%|
|From THB 0 to 150,000||0%|
|From THB 150,001 to 300,000||5%|
|From THB 300,001 to 500,000||10%|
|From THB 500,001 to 750,000||15%|
|From THB 750,001 to 1,000,000||20%|
|From THB 1,000,001 to 2,000,000||25%|
|From THB 2,000,001 to 5,000,000||30%|
- Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
There is a personal allowance of THB 60,000 each for the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s spouse (provided that the taxpayer's spouse does not file one's own return) and THB 30,000 for each child. Moreover, an allowance for parental care of THB 30,000 per parent is deductible. A non-resident is allowed deductions for spouse, children, and parent only if they are resident in Thailand.
A standard deduction of 50%, with a limit of THB 100,000, is permitted in respect of income from employment. Business deductions are not available against employment income.
Donations to educational institutions, public health care facilities, approved charities, and the Technology Development Fund for Education are deductible in the amount donated but not exceeding 10% of net income after all allowances and deductions. A double tax deduction is allowed in respect of donations to support certain educational programmes and cultural activities.
Health insurance premiums, up to THB 15,000, paid to a life or non-life insurance business in Thailand for the taxpayer’s parents or the parents of the spouse of the taxpayer is allowable as a deduction.
Life insurance premiums, in an amount not exceeding THB 100,000, paid by a taxpayer on one's own life are allowed as a deduction, provided that the insurance policies are for a minimum period of ten years and the insurer is carrying on a life insurance business in Thailand.
Mortgage interest incurred for the purpose of purchase or construction of a residential building in Thailand may be deducted up to a maximum of THB 100,000.
- Special Expatriate Tax Regime
- Expatriates working for qualifying regional operating headquarters in Thailand may opt to be taxed at the final withholding tax rate of 15% instead of the normal progressive tax rates for a maximum period of 4 consecutive years, whether or not he or she has occasionally been travelling out of Thailand during that period.
- Capital Tax Rate
- Capital tax for individual is part of the assessable income of the personal income tax.
Double Taxation Treaties
- Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
See the list of the convention signed by Thailand, Website of the Revenue Department.
- Withholding Taxes
- Dividends: 10%, Interest: 10%/15%, Royalties: 15%
- Bilateral Agreement
- Spain and Thailand signed a Double Taxation Treaty.
Thai Work Permit Basics
If you are an expatriate working in Thailand, a Thai Work Permit should be one of your basic must-haves. As a matter of fact, it would be illegal to work in Thailand without your Work Permit. As an employer or employee, it would be best to be well-informed about the process of applying for and retaining a Work Permit.
First of all, you will need to have a Non-Immigrant Visa before being able to apply for a Work Permit. The Thai Work Permit can be granted to expatriates who satisfy any or most of the following conditions:
- Working for an establishment with a registered capital of at least 2,000,000 Baht. One expatriate can be hired for every 2,000,000 Baht of capital but not more than 10 expatriates.
- Working in an establishment, which has already paid income tax to the Revenue Department in the past 3 years not less than 5,000,000 Baht. For every 5,000,000 Baht tax payment is allowed to hire 1 expatriate.
- Working for an establishment, which engages in export business and remit foreign currency of at least the equivalent of 3,000,000 Baht last year. For every 3,000,000 Baht, an establishment is allowed to hire 1 expatriate but not more than 3 expatriates.
- Working in an establishment, which employs 50 Thai employees. An establishment is allowed to hire 1 expatriate for every 50 Thai employees but not more than 5 expatriates in total.
- An expatriate who has an income and duty to pay personal income tax to the Revenue Department of equivalent or more than 18,000 Baht, or already paid personal income tax in the past year of equivalent or more than 18,000 Baht.
Thai Immigration may consider work permit approval, renewal, and modification of employment descriptions regardless of the previous requirements as stated if you are under the following conditions:
- If you are an expatriate working for a representative office conducting quality control, procurement, or marketing research.
- If you work for investment consulting, administrative consulting, technical and technology, or periodical internal audit.
- If you are a Tourism representative who brings in foreigners to travel in Thailand.
- If you are employed under International financial institutions approved by the Bank of Thailand.
- If you are in the temporary business of entertainment, religious, social welfare, cultural or sporting without intention to make profit and paying income tax to the government.
- If you are working as a contractor on projects with any government bodies or state enterprises.
- If you work using mostly local raw material as an essential component in the production process or work that can reduce the use of imported raw material.
- If your work involves supporting export of Thai products.
- If you are working to bring in new technology, which Thai people are not capable of, in order to distribute and transfer to Thai people.
- If you work in the area where there is a shortage of Thai labor.
- If you can provide certificate of residence in Thailand.
- If you are married to a Thai citizen with a legalized marriage registration, publicly cohabiting as husband and wife, and with a legal profession.
Once you receive your Thai Work Permit, you must follow these regulations:
- You must carry your work permit or keep it in the office during working hours to show to government officers any time. A fine of not more than 1,000 baht will be paid by those who violate this.
- You must only perform the work according to the occupation stated in your work permit. You should apply for the revisions should you change occupation or office address. If you violate this rule you can be imprisoned for not more than a month or fined not more than 2,000 baht or both.
- You must apply for an extension before the expiration date if you intend to continue working in Thailand. Should you fail to do this, you can be imprisoned not more than 3 months or fined not more than 5,000 baht or both.
- If your work permit is damaged or lost, you must apply for its replacement within 15 days from the date he/she knows about the damage or disappearance of the work permit. If you fail to do so, you will be fined not more than 500 baht.
- You need to inform the Employment Service office to update your personal information should you change any of it as stated in your Work Permit.
- In case of resignation, you must return your work permit within 7 days from the date of your resignation. If you are found violating this, you will be fined not more than 1000 baht.
- Background The Kingdom of Thailand is a civil law country with strong common law influences. Modern Thai law dates back to the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910), who enacted many reforms of the Thai legal system, such as the elimination of trial by ordeal, and the establishment of the Ministry of Justice and the first law school in Thailand. King Rama V (also known as King Chulalongkorn) also began the process of codifying Thai law, and the Thai Penal Code was enacted in 1908. Many of these reforms were overseen by King Rama V's fourteenth son, Prince Rapee Pattanasak, who is considered to be the father of the modern Thai legal system. The codification and modernization/westernization of Thai law were continued under the reigns of King Rama VI (1910-1925) and King Rama VII (1925-1935). An analysis of the social changes influencing the Reformation of Thailand Law can be found on the Thailand Law Forum website.
- Government The Kingdom of Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932. There have been eighteen constitutions, with the current Constitution having been enacted on August 24, 2007. Under the constitution, the King is the head of state and exercises his sovereign powers through the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers and the Courts. An article summarizing the basic structure of the Thailand government is available online.
- Organic Act on Election of Members of the House of Representatives and Obtaining Senators;
- Organic Act on Election Commission;
- Organic Act on Political Parties;
- Organic Act on Referendum;
- Organic Act on Rules and Procedures of the Constitutional Court;
- Organic Act on Criminal Proceedings Against Persons Holding Political Positions;
- Organic Act on Ombudsmen;
- Organic Act on Counter Corruption; and
- Organic Act on State Audit.
- the Council of Ministers;
- at least one-tenth of the members of the House of Representatives or one-tenth of the members of the National Assembly; or
- the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Justice or an independent constitutional organ, where the President of such Court or independent organ has charge and control of the execution of such organic act.
- the Council of Ministers;
- at least twenty members of the House of Representatives;
- a Court or an independent constitutional organ, but only in respect of a law that is concerned with institutional organization or a law the execution of which the President of such Court or such organ has charge and control; or
- persons having the right to vote of not less than ten thousand in number, on matters relating to rights and liberties or fundamental state policies;
- the Election Commission;
- the Ombudsmen;
- the National Counter Corruption Commission; and
- the State Audit Commission.
- Public Prosecutors;
- the National Human Rights Commission; and
- the National Economic and Social Council.
- Sources of Thai Law 3.1. The Constitution
2.1. Legislative Branch Legislative power is exercised by the National Assembly, which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives has 480 members who serve four year terms. 400 members are elected directly from 157 multi-representative constituencies. The remaining 80 members are elected from party lists, and are chosen on the basis of the proportion of votes cast by constituents in eight groupings of provinces. The Senate has 150 members who serve six year terms. Each of 76 provinces elects one member. The remaining 74 members are selected by the Senators Selective Committee from persons nominated by organizations in the academic, public, private and other sectors. The constitution provides for the enactment of the following organic acts:
The King appoints the Prime Minister and up to thirty-five additional Ministers, who comprise the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister must be a member of the House of Representatives and must have the approval of a majority of members of the House of Representatives. The Prime Minister my not hold office for more than eight consecutive years.
The King may, with the approval of the Council of Ministers, issue emergency decrees having the force of law, for the purpose of maintaining national or public safety, maintaining national economic security, or averting public calamity. The King may also issue emergency decrees if a law on taxes, duties or currency, requiring urgent and confidential consideration, is necessary. Emergency decrees must be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration without delay.
The King may also, inter alia, issue royal decrees not contrary with law, declare and lift martial law in accordance with the Martial Law, declare war (with the approval of at least two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly) and enter into treaties (with the approval of the National Assembly in the case of material treaties).
2.3. Judicial Branch The Courts have responsibility for trying and adjudicating cases. The constitution expressly provides for four types of courts: the Constitutional Court, the Courts of Justice, the Administrative Courts and the Military Courts.
2.3.1. The Constitutional Court
The Constitutional Court has eight members, who are appointed by the King with the advice of the Senate, and serve one nine-year term. The members of the Constitutional Court consist of three judges of the Supreme Court of Justice, elected by the general assembly of the Supreme Court of Justice, two judges from the Supreme Administrative Court, elected at a general assembly of the Supreme Administrative Court, and four individuals (two experts in the field of law and two experts in a field of social science) nominated by a selection committee and approved either by a two-thirds vote of the Senate or, if not approved by the Senate, by the unanimous vote of a selection committee. The judges of the Constitutional Court elect one of their members to be the President of the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional court has an independent secretariat with autonomy in personnel administration, budgeting and other activities.
The Constitutional Court has jurisdiction to determine whether the provisions of any law, rule or regulation are contrary to or inconsistent with the Constitution. Decisions of the Constitutional Court are not subject to appeal by any other court.
2.3.2. The Courts of Justice
Courts of Justice adjudicate all cases except where otherwise specified in the Constitution or other laws. There are three levels of Courts of Justice: Courts of First Instance, Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Justice. The Courts of Justice have an independent secretariat with autonomy in personnel administration, budgeting and other activities. Judges in the Courts of Justice are appointed and removed by the King with the approval of the Judicial Commission of the Courts of Justice.
18.104.22.168. The Supreme Court of Justice
The Supreme Court of Justice has jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate appeals from the Courts of Appeal and from the specialized courts of the Courts of First Instance. The Supreme Court can hear appeals on questions of law and, in certain cases, on questions of fact. The Supreme Court of Justice has original jurisdiction in cases involving the removal or revocation of the right to vote of members of the National Assembly.
The Constitution provides that the Supreme Court of Justice shall have a Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions to hear cases brought by, or against, members of the National Counter Corruption Commission. The Supreme Court of Justice also has original jurisdiction in those cases.
The Supreme Court of Justice has many other divisions dealing with specific types of cases. A quorum consists of three judges, but for exceptional cases, a plenary session (with a quorum consisting of a majority of the judges of the Supreme Court) may be called.
22.214.171.124. The Courts of Appeal
The Courts of Appeal consist of the Court of Appeal and nine regional Courts of Appeal. They have jurisdiction to hear and adjudicate appeals from judgments and orders of the Courts of First Instance, and can hear appeals on both questions of law and fact. In addition, the Courts of Appeal have original jurisdiction in cases involving the removal or revocation of the right to vote of any member of a local assembly or any local administrator, and the judgment of the Courts of Appeal in such cases is final. A quorum of three judges generally hears each appeal.
126.96.36.199. The Courts of First Instance
The Courts of First Instance are the trial courts. There are three types of Courts of First Instance: general courts, juvenile and family courts, and specialized courts. General courts have jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases, and are divided into Civil Courts, Criminal Courts, Provincial Courts and Kwaeng Courts. The juvenile and family courts hear and adjudicate cases involving a minor, and consist of the Central Juvenile and Family Court, the Provincial Juvenile and Family Courts, and the Division of Juvenile and Family Court in the Provincial Courts. The specialized courts consist of the Labour Court, the Tax Court, the Intellectual Property and International Trade Court, and the Bankruptcy Court. Juries are not used in trials.
2.3.3. The Administrative Courts
The Administrative Courts have jurisdiction to try and adjudicate cases between (i) a government entity or official and (ii) a private individual or another government entity or official. Such cases must be a consequence of the exercise of an administrative power under the law or a consequence of a pursuit of an administrative act by a government entity or official. Administrative Courts do not have jurisdiction over the direct exercise by a constitutional organ of powers granted to it under the Constitution. The Administrative Courts have an independent secretariat with autonomy in personnel administration, budgeting and other activities.
2.3.4. The Military Courts
The Military Courts have jurisdiction to try and adjudicate criminal cases against persons subject to the jurisdiction of the Military Courts.
2.4. Constitutional Organs
The Constitution provides for the following independent constitutional organs:
The Kingdom of Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, and the Constitution is the supreme law of the country. The Constitution is a lengthy document and provides for the powers of the King, the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers, the Courts, and Constitutional Organs. The Constitution also includes provisions outlining the rights, liberties and duties of the people, and enumerates directive principles of fundamental state policies relating to e.g. national security, social and cultural affairs, foreign affairs, the economy and the environment. The Constitution may be amended by vote of more than one-half of the members of the National Assembly, with the approval of the King, or if the King shall not approve the amendment, by vote of not less than two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly. Amendments changing the form of government are not permitted. A discussion of the Thailand Constitution of 1997 can be found on the Thailand Law Forum website.
3.2. Codified Laws
The fundamental laws that form the backbone of Thai law have been codified into four codes: the Civil and Commercial Code, the Penal Code, the Civil Procedure Code and the Criminal Procedure Code.
The Civil and Commercial Code includes provisions relating to general principles, obligations, contract law, property law, family law and the law of succession. The provisions relating to general principles are particularly significant because they are often applied to laws outside the Civil and Commercial Code.
The Land Code (1954) was the first major legislation systemizing land laws in Thailand.
3.3. Acts, Treaties and Administration of Laws
Many important social and economic laws are embodied in Acts, which are laws adopted by the National Assembly, either with the approval of the King or, in the event the King does not approve a bill, with the approval of at least two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly.
Under the current Constitution, the King may enter into treaties with other countries and international organizations, but treaties that change the territories over which the Kingdom of Thailand has sovereignty or jurisdiction require the enactment of an Act for their implementation. Any other material treaties must be approved by the National Assembly. These provisions do not affect the implementation of treaties entered into before August 24, 2007.
Arbitration provisions are permitted by the Arbitration Act B.E. 2530 (1987). A research paper on arbitration in Thailand can be found on the Thailand Law Forum website.
Bankruptcies are governed by, inter alia, the Bankruptcy Act B.E. 2483 (1940), as amended by the Bankruptcy Act (No. 7) B.E. 2547 (2004). An article explaining the unique role of Thailand’s Bankruptcy Courts is published in the Thailand Law Forum website.
The protection of the environment is governed by, inter alia, the National Environmental Protection and Promotion Act B.E. 2535 (1992). This act is administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Intellectual property rights are governed by, inter alia, the Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994), the Patent Act B.E. 2522 (1979), as amended by the Patent Act (No. 2) B.E. 2535 (1992) and the Patent Act (No. 3) B.E. 2542 (1999), and the Trademark Act, B.E. 2534 (1991), as amended by the Trademark Act (No. 2) B.E. 2543 (2000). The Kingdom of Thailand is a signatory of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (with certain reservations) and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Patent Cooperation Treaty, but is not a signatory of the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations or the Universal Copyright Convention. These laws are administered by the Department of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Commerce.
Labor laws are provided by, inter alia, the Labour Relations Act 1975, the Act of Establishment of Labour Courts and Labour Court Procedure 1979, the Provident Fund Act 1987, the Social Security Act 1990, the Compensation Fund Act 1994 and the Labour Protection Act 1998.
Financial institutions are regulated by, inter alia, Financial Institutions Businesses Act B.E. 2551(2008), as amended, the Life Insurance Act B.E. 2535 (1992) and the Casualty Insurance Act B.E. 2535 (1992), the Act Forbidding the Charging of Interest at Excessive Rates B.E. 2475 (1932), and the Interest on Loans by Financial Institutions Act B.E. 2523 (1980). Financial institutions are also subject to regulation by the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Thailand.
The issuance and trading of securities is governed by, inter alia, the Securities and Exchange Act B.E. 2535 (1992), which provides for the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Derivatives contracts and markets are governed by, inter alia, the Derivatives Act B.E. 2546 (2003) and are also subject to regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The business operations of foreigners in Thailand are governed by the Foreign Business Act B.E. 2542 (1999).
- US – Thailand Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations 2005
- US – Thailand Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations 1966
- Treaty Between the US and Thailand on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters
- The Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income Between Thailand and the United States
In the Kingdom of Thailand, judicial precedent is not binding on lower courts. The Supreme Court of Justice is not bound to follow its own decisions, and lower courts are not bound to follow precedents set by higher courts. In practice, however, the decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice do have significant influence on the Supreme Court of Justice itself and on lower courts. A selection of Thailand Supreme Court published decisions are updated on the Thailand Law Forum website.
Codes, Acts, Treaties and Judgments – The website of the Law Reform Commission of the Council of State includes a searchable database with the following data:
- Constitution (Council of State English translation available)
- Subordinate Legislation (Thai only)
- Royal Proclamations
- Ministerial Regulations
- Royal Decrees
- Comments (Thai only)
- Other Rulings
- Legal Opinions of the Council of State
- Acts of Parliament (Thai only, searchable by English name or year)
- Subordinate Legislation (Thai only)
- Comments (Thai only)
- Civil Procedure Code (Thai only)
- Subordinate Legislation (Thai only)
- Comments (Thai only)
- Civil and Commercial Code (Thai only)
- Subordinate Legislation (Thai only)
- Comments (Thai only)
- Penal Code (Thai only)
- Subordinate Legislation (Thai only)
- Comments (Thai only)
- Criminal Procedure Code (Thai only)
- Subordinate Legislation (Thai only)
- Comments (Thai only)
- Emergency Decrees (Thai only, searchable by English name or year)
- Revenue Code (Thai only)
- Subordinate Legislation (Thai only)
- Comments (Thai only)
- Palace Laws (Thai only)
- Subordinate Legislation (Thai only)
- Constitutional Court decisions (1997-2003, broken links, Thai only)
- Judgments of the Supreme Court of Justice (1957-1997, broken links, Thai only)
- Administrative Court Rulings (no links)
- Legal Opinions of the Council of State (1922-2003, broken links, Thai only)
- Treaties (many in English, searchable by English name or year)
Courts of Justice – Selected Acts and Rules relating to the Courts of Justice are available from the Courts of Justice website.
Various Thailand Acts and Regulations are available in the database section of Thailand Law Forum website.
AsianLII (has links to the Constitution, Supreme Court decisions, legislation, Constitutional Court decisions, Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court decisions)
NATLEX (labor laws)
Energy Policy & Planning Office Thai Government Links (website directory of Thai government offices)
Thailand Law Source (has legal news, articles and a database of selected laws.
PopulationThe 2016 population of Thailand was estimated to be 68,863,514.
Thailand's population is mostly rural. It is concentrated in the rice growing areas of the central, northeastern, and northern regions. Its urban population—principally in greater Bangkok—was 45.7 percent of the total population in 2010 according to National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB). Accurate statistics are difficult to arrive at, as millions of Thai migrate from rural areas to cities, then return to their place of origin to help with seasonal field work. Officially they have rural residency, but spend most of the year in urban areas.
Thailand's successful government-sponsored family planning program has resulted in a decline in population growth from 3.1 percent in 1960 to around 0.4 percent in 2015. The World Bank forecasts a contraction of the working-age population of about 10 percent between 2010 and 2040.:4,6 In 1970, an average of 5.7 people lived in a Thai household. At the time of the 2010 census, the figure was down to 3.2. Even though Thailand has one of the better social security systems in Asia, the increasing population of elderly people is a challenge for the country.
Life expectancy has risen, a reflection of Thailand's efforts to implement effective public health policies. The Thai AIDS epidemic had a major impact on the Thai population. Today, over 700,000 Thai are HIV or AIDS positive, approximately two percent of adult men and 1.5 percent of adult women. Every year, 30,000–50,000 Thai die from HIV or AIDS-related illnesses. Ninety percent of them are ages 20–24, the youngest range of the workforce. An aggressive public education campaign begun in the early-1990s reduced the number of new HIV infections from 150,000 to under 10,000 annually. Entirely preventable is the leading cause of death among the age cohort under 15 years of age: drowning. A study by the Child Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Centre of Ramathibodi Hospital revealed that more than 1,400 youths under 15 years old died from drowning each year, or an average four deaths a day, becoming the top cause of deaths of children, even exceeding that of motorbike deaths. Thailand's Disease Control Department estimates that only 23 percent of Thai children under 15 can swim. The Public Health Ministry said that from 2006 to 2015, 10,923 children drowned. Of the 8.3 million children aged 5–14 nationwide, only two million can swim, according to the Public Health Ministry.
The United Nations classifies Thailand as an "aging society" (one-tenth of the population above 60), on track to become an "aged society" (one-fifth of the population above 60) by 2025. The Fiscal Policy Office projects that the number of Thais aged 60-plus will increase from 14 percent in 2016 to 17.5 percent in 2020, 21.2 percent in 2025, and 25.2 percent in 2030. As of 2016 it is estimated that there are 94,000 employees aged 60 years or more in the workforce.
Best cities to work fromWorking remotely from Thailand conjures images of rolling waves, beach cafes and reggae parties after work hours. Yet, it’s not Thailand’s south that has earned the title of a digital nomad haven but the northern city of Chiang Mai. Thailand’s fifth largest city also known as the “Rose of the North” is the country’s number one nomad destination, and ranks one of the best cities for freelancers worldwide.
A well-balanced mix of affordability, development and quality of life makes Chiang Mai a contender that is hard to beat. Unlike the urban Bangkok, the city is submerged in lush greenery and forests, and offers a more laid back setting for those wishing to escape the stress of a big city. With that, it has all the needed infrastructure for organising your work and much fewer distractions than Thailand’s coastal cities and paradise islands.
One of the main things that now attracts budding perpetual travellers to the city is the result of its own success: a vibrant and supportive digital nomad community. Here, you will find a wide range of clubs, societies, and regular gatherings, and even coworking spaces tend to come with their own crowd, offering great opportunities for networking as well as guidance and advice for those just exploring the lifestyle.
Bangkok is a natural choice for first-time travellers to Thailand. The country’s capital is home to over ten million people and a large number of expats. A humming mix of old traditions, modern lifestyle, and international crowds make the city a unique space that both inspires and motivates. Needless to say, Bangkok has everything you might possibly need to work remotely including lots of coworking spaces and 24-hour coffee shops.
For those searching for a classic escape, there are the islands. From the large easily-accessible party island of Phuket to the smaller islands in the Gulf of Thailand (Koh Samui, KohTao, Ko Chang) and in the Andaman Sea (Koh Phi Phi, Koh Yao Yai, Koh Lipe) there is no shortage of choice.
Depending how far you are willing to travel, the level of comfort you are looking for, and whether you enjoy the presence of other nomads, your selection will narrow down. Small islands offer the idyllic “palm trees and coconut shakes” setting, but will lack some of the amenities of bigger places. Another thing to consider is the quality of Internet connection — in small remote locations the connection may be spotty.
Good to know: A larger island in the province of Krabi, Koh Lanta, is emerging as a digital nomad hub thanks to its “unexplored” character and a popular coworking hub (KoHub).
The Internet and coworking spacesThe Internet in Thailand is the eighth fastest in Asia. With the average speed across the country estimated at 19.9Mbps, the country comes ahead of Vietnam and Cambodia but lags behind Asian web speed leaders Hong Kong and Singapore.
Coworking spaces are aplenty. You are sure to find dozens of choices when settling in Chiang Mai or Bangkok and even some remote islands often offer at least one coworking space for setting up camp.
Coworking spaces in BangkokLaunchpad, 139 Pan Road, Sethiwan Tower, Silom, Bangrak
The Hive Thonglor, 46/9 Soi Sukhumvit 49, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
HUBBA Thailand, 19 Soi Ekkamai 4, Sukumvit 63 Rd., Prakanong Nua
Paperwork, K.S.Building Soi Sathorn 9, Sathorntai Rd, Yannawa Sathorn
The Work Loft, 1, 281/19-23 Si Lom, Silom, Bang Rak
Coworking spaces in ChiangmaiPunspace Nimman, 14 Siri Mangkalajarn Lane 11, Muang
StarWork Chiangmai, Wat Ket, Mueang
CAMP at MAYA, Chang Phueak, Mueang
Wake Up, 30/1-3 Nimmanahaeminda Rd, Su Thep, Muang, Muang
Coworking spaces in PhuketGarage Society, 5/5, Lub d Phuket Patong 2nd floor, Sawatdirak road, Patong, Kathu
CocoWorking Space, 23 Soi Ta-iad, Chalong, Muang Phuket
Coworking spaces on the islands:Koh Space, 136/1 Moo 1, Ban Tai, Ko Phangan
KoHub, 224/1, Pra Ae, Ko Lanta District
TAOHUB, 8/80 moo.2 Maehaad, K Tao
Leisure in ThailandOne of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, Thailand has plenty to offer in the after-work hours — from discovering the culture and history of Bangkok and Chiang Mai to idling away on one of the many paradise islands. Seeing Thailand’s 40,717 Buddhist temples is a formidable task by itself. The country’s south offers beautiful coastal views and famous get-away islands from the moon party famous Ko Phangan to the heavenly Ko Phi Phi and beyond.
What to know before arrivingIf you are planning to settle in Thailand as a digital nomad, first consider your visa options. Residents of most countries can enter the country visa-free for up to 30 days. If you plan to stay longer than that, you may decide to apply for a visa or leave Thailand every 30 days and then re-enter the country. If you go with the latter option, a good idea may be to settle close to border controls so that the road does not steal too much of your Thailand time.
If you go with the visa option, the type of visa you may want to apply for depends on your plans, age, and free time. A Tourist Visa will get you a stay of 60 days in Thailand (single or multiple entry) which can then be extended for 15-30 days for an additional fee of 1900 baht. Alternatively, if you want to stay for a period of six months or even a year, consider an Education Visa. Signing up for a Thai language course, cooking classes or even Thai massage training with an accredited establishment will allow you to stay in the country longer but you will need to combine your online work with some class time (you can choose a course with the minimum number of hours). Finally, there is the Retirement Visa that will let you stay in the country for the long term provided you meet the needed requirements (applicants must be over 50 years of age and provide proof of financial well-being).
Economy - overviewWith a relatively well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and generally pro-investment policies, Thailand is highly dependent on international trade, with exports accounting for about two-thirds of GDP. Thailand’s exports include electronics, agricultural commodities, automobiles and parts, and processed foods. The industry and service sectors produce about 90% of GDP. The agricultural sector, comprised mostly of small-scale farms, contributes only 10% of GDP but employs about one-third of the labor force. Thailand has attracted an estimated 3.0-4.5 million migrant workers, mostly from neighboring countries.
Over the last few decades, Thailand has sustained strong growth and has reduced poverty substantially. In 2013, the Thai Government implemented a nationwide 300 baht (roughly $10) per day minimum wage policy and deployed new tax reforms designed to lower rates on middle-income earners.
Growth has slowed in the last few years, however, due to domestic political turmoil and sluggish global demand. Nevertheless, Thailand’s economic fundamentals are sound, with low inflation, low unemployment, and reasonable public and external debt levels. Tourism and government spending - mostly on infrastructure and short-term stimulus measures – have helped to boost the economy, and The Bank of Thailand has been supportive, with several interest rate reductions.
Over the longer-term, Thailand faces labor shortages, and domestic debt levels, political uncertainty, and an aging population pose risks to growth.
|GDP (purchasing power parity)||$1.229 trillion (2017 est.)|
$1.185 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.148 trillion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
|GDP (official exchange rate)||$437.8 billion (2016 est.)|
|GDP - real growth rate||3.7% (2017 est.)|
3.2% (2016 est.)
2.9% (2015 est.)
|GDP - per capita (PPP)||$17,800 (2017 est.)|
$17,200 (2016 est.)
$16,700 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
|Gross national saving||32.8% of GDP (2017 est.)|
33.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
30.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
|GDP - composition, by end use||household consumption: 50.1%|
government consumption: 17%
investment in fixed capital: 24.2%
investment in inventories: -7%
exports of goods and services: 70.4%
imports of goods and services: -54.7% (2017 est.)
|GDP - composition by sector||agriculture: 8.2%|
services: 55.6% (2017 est.)
|Population below poverty line||7.2% (2015 est.)|
|Labor force||38.37 million (2017 est.)|
|Labor force - by occupation||agriculture: 31.8%|
services: 51.5% (2015 est.)
|Unemployment rate||0.7% (2017 est.)|
0.8% (2016 est.)
|Unemployment, youth ages 15-24||total: 0.9%|
female: 1.1% (2015 est.)
|Household income or consumption by percentage share||lowest 10%: 2.8%|
highest 10%: 31.5% (2009 est.)
|Distribution of family income - Gini index||44.5 (2015)|
|Budget||revenues: $79.6 billion|
expenditures: $90.56 billion (2017 est.)
|Taxes and other revenues||18.2% of GDP (2017 est.)|
|Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)||-2.5% of GDP (2017 est.)|
|Public debt||44.1% of GDP (2017 est.)|
41.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are sold at public auctions
|Inflation rate (consumer prices)||0.6% (2017 est.)|
0.2% (2016 est.)
|Central bank discount rate||1.5% (31 December 2016)|
1.5% (31 December 2015)
|Commercial bank prime lending rate||6.2% (31 December 2017 est.)|
6.31% (31 December 2016 est.)
|Stock of narrow money||$56.36 billion (31 December 2017 est.)|
$52.03 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
|Stock of broad money||$546.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)|
$510.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
|Stock of domestic credit||$537.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)|
$507.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
|Market value of publicly traded shares||$348.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)|
$430.4 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$354.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
|Agriculture - products||rice, cassava (manioc, tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, palm oil, pineapple, livestock, fish products|
|Industries||tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry and electric appliances, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, automobiles and automotive parts, agricultural machinery, air conditioning and refrigeration, ceramics, aluminum, chemical, environmental management, glass, granite and marble, leather, machinery and metal work, petrochemical, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, printing, pulp and paper, rubber, sugar, rice, fishing, cassava, world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer|
|Industrial production growth rate||3.6% (2017 est.)|
|Current Account Balance||$44 billion (2017 est.)|
$46.83 billion (2016 est.)
|Exports||$228.2 billion (2017 est.)|
$214.3 billion (2016 est.)
|Exports - commodities||automobiles and parts, computer and parts, jewelry and precious stones, polymers of ethylene in primary forms, refine fuels, electronic integrated circuits, chemical products, rice, fish products, rubber products, sugar, cassava, poultry, machinery and parts, iron and steel and their products|
|Exports - partners||US 11.4%, China 11.1%, Japan 9.6%, Hong Kong 5.3%, Australia 4.8%, Malaysia 4.5%, Vietnam 4.4% (2016)|
|Imports||$190 billion (2017 est.)|
$177.7 billion (2016 est.)
|Imports - commodities||machinery and parts, crude oil, electrical machinery and parts, chemicals, iron & steel and product, electronic integrated circuit, automobile’s parts, jewelry including silver bars and gold, computers and parts, electrical household appliances, soybean, soybean meal, wheat, cotton, dairy products|
|Imports - partners||China 21.6%, Japan 15.8%, US 6.2%, Malaysia 5.6% (2016)|
|Reserves of foreign exchange and gold||$193.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)|
$171.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
|Debt - external||$135.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)|
$130.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
|Stock of direct foreign investment - at home||$205.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)|
$193.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
|Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad||$112.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)|
$96.27 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
|Exchange rates||baht per US dollar -|
34.34 (2017 est.)
35.296 (2016 est.)
35.296 (2015 est.)
34.248 (2014 est.)
32.48 (2013 est.)
|Fiscal year||1 October - 30 September|
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