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New taxes are driving the up the cost of bad habits like smoking and drinking, increasing government revenue, but probably not having a major effect on consumption.
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“Sinning” gets more expensive
If you are a smoker (not a good idea) here in Thailand, you will quickly notice that a pack of your favourite cigarettes has jumped in price. If you are also a drinker, your "sin" bill will be even higher.
That's because sin taxes for cigarettes and liquor have been raised.
Cabinet members yesterday approved an increase in cigarette excise taxes from 85% to 87%. The cabinet also approved an increase in taxes for white spirits to 150 baht per litre of 100% alcohol content, up from 120 baht. For blended spirits, the tax was increased to 350 baht per litre of 100% alcohol content, up from 300 baht previously.
The cigarette tax hike, which took effect yesterday, is projected to raise 10 billion baht in additional tax revenues a year, according to Benja Louichareon, director-general of the Excise Department. The liquor tax hike is projected to raise another 2 billion baht in revenues per year.
Sin taxes are also intended to reduce consumption of cigarettes and alcoholic drinks by raising their retail price.
Officials estimate, for example, that store prices for Marlboro cigarettes should increase by eight baht per pack, six baht for Mild Seven cigarettes and six baht for Krong Thip cigarettes.
Imported cigarettes from China could rise in price by as much as 20 baht per pack, after factoring in the increase on other taxes such as value-added taxes and import taxes, officials said.
Ms Benja pointed out, however, that some sellers may choose to absorb the cost of the higher taxes themselves rather than increasing prices.
She said the tax hikes were relatively limited as many rates already were at or near the ceiling permitted under the law. Sharp increases could also result in more smuggling or tax evasion.
Thus, price alone, is not likely to prevent people from slowly killing themselves.
Adapted from a story in today's Bangkok Post by Wichit Chantanusornsiri.
sin – an action, thought, or way of behaving that is wrong according to religious laws, or in this case, that is harmful to your health บาป
sin tax – a tax on products or services that are seen as being harmful, such as alcohol, tobacco and gambling ภาษีเกี่ยวกับสินค้าหรือบริการที่ถูกมองว่าเป็นอันตรายเช่นแอลกอฮอล์ยาสูบและการเล่นการพนัน
favourite – something you like the best of all similar things ที่ชอบมากที่สุด, ที่โปรดปราน, ของโปรด
raise – to increase the amount or level of something ทำให้สูงขึ้น, ส่งเสริม, ยกระดับ
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
approve – to give official permission อนุมัต
excise tax – a tax made by a government on some types of goods made, used sold within their own country ภาษีสรรพสามิต, ภาษีสำหรับสินค้าในประเทศ
spirit – a strong alcoholic drink เหล้าที่มีแอลกอฮอล์แรง
blend – to combine or mix with other things in an attractive or effective way ผสม
hike –an increase การเพิ่มสูงขึ้น
take effect – to begin to be used or required ส่งผล
projected – calculated based on information already known คาดคะเน, ประเมิน
raise (money) – to collect or earn money for something
revenue – income from taxes or business activities รายได้
intended – planned; wanted to happen ที่ได้วางแผนไว้ ที่ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น
consumption – using, eating or drinking something การบริโภค
retail – to sell directly to the public for their own use ขายปลีก
estimate – to say what you think an amount or value is or will be, either by using available information or by guessing คาดคะเน
import – to buy or bring in products from another country นำเข้า
factor in – to consider พิจารณา
value-added tax – a tax that is added to the price of goods and services ภาษีมูลค่าเพิ่ม
absorb – to deal with changes, effects, costs, etc, in this case to pay a higher cost yourself รับเอา, รับไว้
relatively – somewhat; in comparison with someone or something similar ค่อนข้าง
limited – stopped from increasing beyond a particular amount or level ถูกจำกัด
rate – an amount of money that is paid or charged อัตรา, ราคา
ceiling – an upper limit เพดาน ขีดจำกัด
permit – to allow someone to do something อนุญาต, อนุมัติ, ยินยอม
sharp – quickly and by a large amount สูงขึ้นอย่างรวดเร็ว
smuggling – secretly and illegally taking goods or people into or out of a country or place การลักลอบ
tax evasion – deliberately not paying the taxes you owe การหนีภาษี