Smart Visa Changes In Thailand
The Thailand government's cabinet has this month approved revisions in the new Smart Visa allowing three new professions to work, invest and open businesses in targeted industries. These are as follows:
- Alternative dispute resolution management
- Human resources development in science and technology
- Environment and alternative energy management
As a results, fast track lanes are being opened up in all international aiports in Thailand for Smart Visa holders and the income requirement has been decreased; the minimum monthly has been set to 100,000 THB and 50,000 THB for local startups. The monthly income from high-end professionals and executives remains at a minimum of 200,000 THB but this can also include bonuses.
The timeline has also been changed from 1 year as the initial "probationary period", followed by renewals every 2 years. The BOI is allowing startups to receive local venture capital and revising startups' minimum investment from 20 million baht per individual investor to co-investment for multiple investors, new startups have a minimum investment of 5 million baht. The BOI hasn't seen a large influx of applicants for the new Smart Visa and is encouraging qualified personnel to apply.
New Tax For Land & Building
A new building and land tax bill has been passed this month too which covers agricultural, residential, commercial and undeveloped property. Agricultural land will be taxed on a graduated scale based on value; property worth up to 50 million THB will be taxed annually at 0.02% of the land's estimated value whilst farmland valued at 75 to 100 million THB will pay 0.03%, and land worth 100 - 500 million THB will be taxed at 0.05%. This will affect owners of undeveloped tracts of land the hardest with an extra 0.03% tax on-top for any unused land after every 3 years.
Residential land and houses worth up to 50 million THB will pay 0.02% annual tax on the property's value, whilst home and land worth 50 to 75 million THB will be taxed 0.03%. If the residential property is worth 75 to 100 million THB, the annual rate will be 0.05% and more than 100 million THB will results in an increase of 0.01%. However, this is very different for primary residences that worth no more than 50 million THB which will be exempt from tax, if owners own only a building then it will be exempt from tax if the value is not over 10 million THB.
Commercial Property Tax Updates
The new tax rate for owners of commercial properties valued under the 50 million THB rate will now be 0.3%, 50 to 200 million THB is 0.4%, and 0.5% for those valued between 200 million and 1 billion THB. For those corporations with property valued between 1 billion and 5 billion THB a tax of 0.6% has been applied, and for over the 5 billion mark is a 0.7% tax. Agricultural land, ordinary land and building owners will be exampt from tax for the first 3 years after the law comes into effect. Baring in mind the levy mentioned above for unused land, there is a clear push here from the Thai Government to push for development on land. This coupled with a lack of legislation on protecting certain areas signals a strong move away from a tourist based economy to a more productive one.