Excise intent on taxing online games, movies, music

Excise intent on taxing online games, movies, music

League players compete at the Thailand Game Expo 2019, hosted by AIS eSports.
League players compete at the Thailand Game Expo 2019, hosted by AIS eSports.

The Excise Department is conducting a study into the best ways to collect taxes from the cashed-up providers of online games, movies and music.

However, the targets would probably not include e-sports, which are online games but recognised as a sport under the Sports Authority of Thailand Act 2015, and servers of online games operating overseas, department director-general Patchara Anuntasilpa said on Tuesday. 

He admitted the Excise and the Revenue departments had no authority to collect taxes from overseas servers of e-sports.

He said a huge sum of money was circulating in the online game market. It was time to tax it.

The department had studied online tax collection in several countries, but the findings showed that tax collection efforts proved a flop in those countries. The exception was the United States, where the Facebook provider had registered the firm in the US.

The department's study would look into collecting tax from providers of music and films online. Levies would be imposed in the form of luxury taxes.

The department chief said it had to be admitted there was no channel to collect taxes from these online services as providers such as YouTube and Facebook registered their companies overseas.  

A study on e-sports by the National Economic and Social Development Council concluded there were 18.3 million e-sport gamers in Thailand in 2017, accounting for one-fourth of the population, while spending in the game market stood at 22 billion baht, which ranked 19th in the world.

In 2018, there were 2.6 million viewers of e-sport competitions in Thailand. The figure was expected to increase by 30% by 2021, according to the findings.

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