Taxes slashed for booze, pubs

Taxes slashed for booze, pubs

Excise Dept hopes to boost tourism, spending

Tourists visit Khao San Road, one of the popular destinations in Bangkok. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Tourists visit Khao San Road, one of the popular destinations in Bangkok. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

The Excise Department has cut tax rates for alcohol and nightlife venues, effective on Friday, in a bid to boost tourism and domestic spending.

Department director-general Ekniti Nitithanprapas said that the new tax rates are in line with measures approved by the cabinet on Jan 2, which are intended to promote Thailand to become a tourism hub.

"The government hopes to create an atmosphere fitting for a tourist destination, make Thailand a centre for restaurants and eateries, presenting an alternative to consumers and bolstering its pricing strategy, in order to encourage more tourist spending and attract more high-quality foreign visitors," Mr Ekniti said.

The ad valorem tax rate for grape wine and sparkling grape wine has now been reduced from 10% to 5%, while the tax rate based on quantity (baht per litre per 100 proof alcohol) for them has been reduced from 1,500 baht to 1,000 baht.

To take a real-world example, if a 750ml bottle of wine has a declared price of 1,000 baht and alcohol content of 12%, the tax based on alcohol content would be 135 baht (0.75x12x1500/100) at the 1,500-baht rate. The excise tax applied on top of that (10% of 1,135 baht) would be 113 baht, bringing the total price to 1,248 baht. Under the new calculation, based on the 1,000-baht and 5% rates, the price would be 1,145 baht.

The ad valorem tax rate and the tax rate based on quantity for fruit wines have been reduced from 10% to 0% and 900 baht, respectively.

The ad valorem tax rate and the tax rate based on quantity for local liquors (less than 7 proof alcohol) have been reduced from 10% to 0% and 150 baht, respectively, while the ad valorem tax rate and the tax rate based on quantity for fermented liquor mixed with distilled spirits (over 7 proof alcohol) are 10% and 255 baht respectively.

The ad valorem tax rate for night-time entertainment venues, including nightclubs, pubs and bars, is reduced from 10% to 5% from Friday until Dec 31.

Mr Ekniti said the new tax rates would lead to cheaper prices for alcoholic beverages and boost tourism and spending, as alcohol prices are being used as stimulus measures to encourage foreign visitors to choose Thailand as their travel destination.

The tax cuts for nightlife venues are short-term measures, effective until the end of this year, to help operators affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid) get back on their feet as well as boost domestic employment, he said.

However, Thanakorn Kuptajitti, adviser to the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, said that the new tax cuts will only benefit a limited number of producers of alcoholic beverages as specified in the announcement.

Overall, the new tax measures do not encourage alcohol consumption that much as the number of people who drink wine is limited, while most people drink fermented liquor, whisky, brandy and beer. The new tax cuts do not cover these types of alcoholic beverages, Mr Thanakorn said.

Instead, the government should lift the ban on alcohol sales between 2pm and 5pm as this would do more to help boost tourism and spending, he said.

The regulation to suspend alcohol sales from 2pm to 5pm daily has been in place for more than 50 years and is problematic for eatery operators because foreign customers usually ask them to explain why they cannot buy during the period.

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