Revenue Department shifts focus to aid struggling taxpayers

Revenue Department shifts focus to aid struggling taxpayers

Achieving tax revenue collection targets is not a priority for the Revenue Department amid the stuttering economy, says the department's chief.

The current situation is not the right time for the Revenue Department to chase tax payments, said director-general Ekniti Nitithanprapas, adding that fiscal policy must be adjusted in line with the economic circumstances.

The department has altered its strategy to focus on helping taxpayers, both individuals and corporations, Mr Ekniti said.

"It isn't an appropriate situation to put state income on the front burner right now, so the department is offering delays in income tax return filing," he said. "The deferred deadline remains within fiscal 2020 or by the end of September."

For the seven months through April, the Revenue Department's tax revenue collection missed the target by 70 billion baht because of the sluggish economy and the department's assistance measures to postpone the tax return filing deadline to allow people to keep money in their pockets as long as possible.

The country's largest tax-collecting agency has been assigned a revenue collection target of 2.12 trillion baht for this fiscal year.

Apart from delaying the personal income tax return filing deadline to the end of August from the end of March, the Revenue Department is speeding up paying back tax to those who claim a refund, Mr Ekniti said.

The department has already paid 28 billion baht, representing 95% of the total tax return claims. Still, it has also halved the 3% withholding tax to let business operators hold an additional 27.1 billion baht worth of cash longer.

Mr Ekniti said delaying and cutting taxes and providing tax incentives to motivate business operators to retain their employees are among the Revenue Department's aid measures.

The department allows business operators with a ceiling annual revenue of 500 million baht and up to 200 employees to claim interest expenses incurred between April 1 and Dec 31 to deduct income tax at 1.5 times, and salary expenses during April to July to claim the deduction at 3 times.

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