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TAXATION: Experts urge overhaul of system

To boost revenue and
and encourage investment by Parista Yuthamanop

Thailand needs to overhaul its tax system to maintain investment competitiveness and increase state revenue, according to local tax experts.

They warn that China's trade liberalisation and overdue improvement of its important laws may erode Thailand's ability to attract foreign investment in the future.

Thailand's tax system has been improved to plug loopholes in tax collection, while encouraging investment and domestic consumption, according to Satit Rungkasiri, director of Tax 
Planning Bureau at the Finance Ministry. A 'mild amnesty' had been given to local manufacturers to help them maintain competitiveness, he said.

The government has made several attempts to curb corruption among tax collectors and has introduced steps to make tax collection more effective, such as allowing submission of 
personal tax returns online.

To encourage business, the government will allow small and medium-enterprises (SMEs) to pay income tax at progressive rates in line with their profits, starting next year.

Kittipong Urapeepattanapong, a partner at Baker & McKenzie (Thailand), said the government needed to push ahead with laws that could generate more level, such as tax on e-commerce. A revision of incentives given by the Board of Investment was also necessary as existing privileges would expire soon.

Past efforts to reform taxation had been piecemeal, he said, urging a review of the whole regime.

Bangkok Post, November 12, 2001

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