Shysters targeted in changes to alcohol tax collection

Proposed changes to the collection methods for the alcohol beverage tax and an increase in the tax ceiling aim to prevent operators from under-declaring liquor costs.

Deputy Finance Minister Tanusak Lek-uthai yesterday said the proposals approved by the cabinet on Tuesday included the Excise Department's tax calculation for alcohol beverages by taking into account the retail prices or final wholesale prices of products instead of the ex-factory prices for the purposes of calculating tax.

He said operators have been quoting production prices which are lower than actual prices and the new approach would help solve that problem.

Mr Tanusak added the change to the ceiling rate will not involve pure alcohol used in the industrial or medical sectors.

He also brushed aside concerns over the possible hoarding of alcohol by traders before the law takes effect. He said hoarders have to shoulder the long-term costs while some products expire.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said the tax overhaul is part of a long-term tax restructuring plan.

The cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal to raise the tax ceiling for fermented beverages such as beer and wine and distilled beverages such as whisky and brandy to 2,000 baht per litre of 100% alcohol content.

Mr Kittiratt said the new ceiling could stay in place for up to a decade.

The excise tax collection for many products, including alcoholic beverages, had nearly hit their legal ceilings now so the increase is needed to prepare for the long term. The new rate will be determined later after the ministerial regulation concerning the issue is invoked, Mr Kittiratt said.

About the author

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Writer: Wichit Chantanusornsiri
Position: Business Reporter