Customs targets online shoppers

Customs targets online shoppers

Online shoppers who buy from retailers abroad will soon be able to pay import duty online and have packages sent to their homes as the Customs Department is expanding its focus to small incoming packages.

A second x-ray scanner will also be used on packages to check whether its value exceeds the 1,500-baht tax-exempt level, director-general Kulit Sombatsiri told a forum on Thursday.

At present, incoming airmail packages are checked by the customs office at Suvarnabhumi airport and then sent to Lak Si post office in Bangkok to be distributed. If the value of a package is less than 1,500 baht, it will be tax-exempt and sent to the recipient like a local package. But if the value exceeds 1,500 baht, the recipient will need to pick it up at the post office so he or she can pay the import duty.

While the customs law waives the import duty on incoming packages worth less than 1,500 baht each, the relaxation has been exploited and many products have been underdeclared. “There are several cases where a 12,000-baht handbag was declared 400 baht,” he said.

To improve the detection, a second x-ray scanner will be added to check the content. It will also help detect illegal products, especially drugs, he said.

To further minimise underdeclaration, the department is building Big Data of buyers or importers with at-risk behaviours such as those who stay abroad 40 days in 180 days or send goods to the same postboxes.

“We're also drafting an announcement to prosecute underdeclaration of certain products by making it impossible to end the dispute at the customs officials level.”

A customs intelligence centre will also be set up to share the data, he added.


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