Private sector wants say in new excise tax

Private sector wants say in new excise tax

Fears new regime will hamper free market

Imported cars are displayed at a fair held in Bangkok. Importers of foreign cars, whiskey and wine are concerned about the country's new excise tax law. (Photo by Tawatchai Khemgumnerd)
Imported cars are displayed at a fair held in Bangkok. Importers of foreign cars, whiskey and wine are concerned about the country's new excise tax law. (Photo by Tawatchai Khemgumnerd)

The Thai private sector wants to play a part in drafting the organic laws of the new excise tax law, citing concerns about its practicality once in place.

Kitipong Urapeepatanapong, chairman at Baker & McKenzie in Bangkok, said in his capacity as chairman of the tax committee and director of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, that he believes the Thai private sector is concerned about the new edition of the excise tax law, whose 90 organic laws are currently being drafted.

"The Finance Ministry has announced it will speed up finishing the draft organic laws by late June, but we have yet to see any clear signs whether the drafting efforts will be completed as announced, along with details on the factors the state will use in making the new excise tax calculation," he said.

Earlier, Malika Bhumivarn, a partner at Bolliger & Co Consulting Ltd, a specialist on trade and customs, said importers of foreign cars, whiskey and wine have vented their mounting frustrations about Thailand's new excise tax law, saying it may bring about retaliatory measures from other countries.

They are calling on the government to hear the private sector's concerns before the new tax regime comes into force, scheduled for Sept 16.

Ms Malika said the key areas of concern for the new tax are organic laws that stipulate practical guidelines, adding that they may bring about practical problems later if the private sector is barred from taking part in a joint meeting to draft the organic laws.

Relevant parties had earlier expressed their concerns about the recommended retail prices when the draft excise tax was being vetted by the National Legislative Assembly.

The new excise tax law recommends retail prices based on production and management costs and standard profit, and the recommended retail price should not be below the final retail price for goods sold to end-users in normal market conditions.

The Act also authorises the director-general of the Excise Department to determine recommended retail prices for use as a base for excise tax calculation in the event of disputes. If the recommended retail price is not in line with the market price, the department will have the power to set it, which will be based on retail market prices or import prices.

The new excise tax regime also requires manufacturers to inform the Excise Department of their retail price structures.

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