The Revenue Department has considered lowering the personal income tax for foreign experts to 17% as part of measures to woo highly skilled professionals to work in Thailand, says director-general Ekniti Nitithanprapas.
Thailand's personal income tax rate is progressive, varied by salary level. Those with annual income from 150,001 baht to 300,000 baht are subject to 5% tax, while those with annual income above 5 million baht are subject to the top tax rate of 35%.
Mr Ekniti said the foreign experts who would qualify for this lower tax must work in fields in which Thailand has a shortage. These experts could work anywhere in Thailand.
He said the department is considering a valid period for this tax privilege.
The cabinet approved measures to attract "high-potential" foreigners to stay in Thailand for the long term. The cabinet assigned the National Economic and Social Development Council to consult with related state agencies, including the Finance Ministry, on the matter.
Mr Ekniti said a tax cut would not be the main lure for foreign talent to work in Thailand, as other factors hold more weight, such as safety of the country and high quality of schools and medical care. For these reasons, some countries think the lower tax rates are unnecessary and revoke them after passing such measures, said Mr Ekniti.
The cabinet also approved the reduction of import duties for some goods, such as wines, alcoholic beverages and cigars, by half for five years, also to woo foreign experts to work in Thailand. The current duties for these items ranges from 30-60%.
Patchara Anuntasilpa, director-general of the Customs Department, said the department completed its analysis of the details of this duty reduction measure and will propose it to the Finance Ministry for consideration.
He said cutting the duties might not lure more foreign talent to work in Thailand because in general they earn a high salary and can easily afford these products. The department is still prepared to cut the duties if the ministry believes it would work, said Mr Patchara.