Thaksin to appeal B17.6bn tax demand

Thaksin to appeal B17.6bn tax demand

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will appeal the Revenue Department's decision to collect 17.6 billion baht in taxes from the Shin Corp share sale deal, according to his legal adviser.

Noppadon Pattama said Tuesday that Thaksin has appointed a team of lawyers to fight the case and that the team will lodge an appeal with the department's appeal committee.

He was speaking after a tax notice was put up in front of the house of Thaksin's former wife, Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra.

Officials from Bangkok's Bang Phlat Revenue Office went to her residence on Charan Sanitwong Soi 69 Tuesday morning and posted the notice on her front gate. Duty officers at the district police station also witnessed the notice being put up, sources said.

The house is still officially listed as Thaksin's address in the database of the Interior Ministry despite the couple divorcing in late 2008 after 32 years of marriage.

Dated Tuesday (March 28), the Revenue Department's Por Ngor Dor 12 form demands Thaksin pay 17.6 billion baht in back taxes, fines and additional fees in compliance with a tax law requiring a tax re-assessment be wrapped up within 10 years.

In this case, it was done before the statute of limitations on the case ends tomorrow.

Mr Noppadon said the appeal will be filed within 30 days, as required by law.

Procedures dictate that if the appeal committee stands firm on the tax-collection demand and the former premier is still not happy with the decision, he may appeal to the tax court within 30 days.

As the tax-demand notice was officially served, no one in the house came out to acknowledge it, according to a Revenue Department source. Mr Noppadon said that because the shares were sold on the stock market the proceeds should incur taxes.

As the case has already expired, despite authorities saying otherwise, Thaksin plans to proceed with legal action against them for dereliction of duty, he added.

"Does this action respect the rule of law?" he said.

Chaikasem Nitisiri, a legal representative of the Pheu Thai Party, said both the department and the court have laid the issue to rest. He referred to earlier decisions by the department and Central Tax Court not to pursue the taxes from Thaksin's children Panthongtae and Pinthongta.

They stand accused of acting as proxies for their father by holding Shin Corp shares they had acquired from Ample Rich at a heavily discounted price and reselling them to Singapore's Temasek through the Stock Exchange of Thailand for a huge profit, subject to tax, back in January 2006. Ample Rich is a British Virgin Islands company founded by Thaksin.

Mr Chaikasem said that going after the tax runs counter to national reconciliation efforts the government was trying to build. However, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insists they are separate issues.

Where the law dictates taxes must be collected from earnings, the state authorities must act accordingly, the premier said. It would be misguided to try and lump this together with the reconciliation issue.

"Are we to assume that for the sake of reconciliation, we must let go of righting past wrongs?" he said.

He has avoided invoking the all-powerful Section 44 of the interim charter to deal with the Thaksin tax issue as it is one that can be handled through regular legal channels.

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