Measures to lure wealthy foreigners hit obstacle

Measures to lure wealthy foreigners hit obstacle

Fresh investment measures including a sweeping plan to allow rich foreigners to enjoy a long-stay visa for up to 10 years, own land and property, and pay a 17% personal income tax on local earnings are yet to be settled, as the Finance Ministry is still resisting the thorny tax reduction proposal.

The government considers a number of investment measures to woo rich foreigners to Thailand. (Bangkok Post photo)

According to a source from Government House who requested anonymity, the fresh investment stimulus measures were proposed at a meeting of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (Cesa), chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, on Friday.

He said the Cesa meeting approved in principle the proposed measures but asked Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow to consult more related agencies, particularly about the tax reduction and related law improvement and resubmit at Cesa's next meeting.

The proposed measures will be offered mainly to four target groups comprising rich global citizens, wealthy retirees, rich professionals who work from Thailand and highly-skilled professionals.

The measures were prepared by an ad-hoc committee to handle investment acceleration headed by Mr Supattanapong's adviser, ML Chayotid Kridakorn, former senior country officer and managing director for JPMorgan Thailand.

The source said the Finance Ministry has voiced opposition, particularly to the 17% tax rate on local earnings, claiming such a tax cut will affect the government's revenue collection.

Under the proposed measures, rich global citizens with no limitation on age are required to invest at least US$500,000 in government bonds or property or foreign direct investment; have at least $80,000 in income over the last two years and have $1 million in assets and $100,000 in health insurance.

For eligible wealthy retirees, they are required to be 50 or over, with an annual income of $40,000, $250,000 worth of investment in government bonds or real estate, and $100,000 health insurance.

As with wealthy people, retirees would get a 10-year visa and be allowed to buy property and land, work 20 hours a week without a work permit and pay a 17% tax rate on local earnings.

For work-from-Thailand professionals, which includes people who work in digital media or employees of large companies who are close to retirement, they must have $40,000 a year income, as well as $100,000 in health insurance cover.

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