Thailand – Once A Vacationer’s Paradise, Now A Foreign Investor’s Heaven
Thailand is a dream destination not only for retirees and travellers but also for foreign investors and professionals looking to invest in Thailand for a brighter future. Until a few years ago, Thailand’s laws were stringent and unwavering for foreigners seeking to invest funds in the country through real estate purchases. However, due to COVID-19, Thailand’s economy has suffered a big blow, and this has in turn led to some concessions for foreigners.
From the year 2022, foreign investors, retirees and professionals will be eligible to benefit from the new incentives the Thai government is offering them. These perks, incentives and benefits are meant to attract high-earning residents from foreign countries to aid in the recovery of Thailand due to the pandemic.
Ensuring Ease Of Stay For Foreigners To Provide A Better Economy For Thai Citizens
September 14, 2021, is a day that will be remembered forever by investors around the world. On this date, Thailand and its leaders passed a resolution to introduce both tax, immigration and land ownership incentives for skilled professionals, investors and retirees from other countries. This resolution was passed in the hopes of rectifying the damage done due to the economy due to COVID-19 and is definitely positive news for investors and land developers in Thailand.
As per one of the Thai government’s spokespersons, this initiative can generate more than 1 Trillion Thai Bahts which is approximately US$30 billion. This can be done by offering the proposed incentives to over a million eligible foreign professionals, investors and retirees. The funds from these incentives will be used directly to better Thailand’s economy and improve the life of Thai citizens.
Listed below are details of which incentives will be offered, when they will be available and who is eligible to make use of these perks and benefits.
What Are The Incentives The Thai Government is Offering To Foreign Investors?
The incentives that are being offered fall into 3 broad categories.
- Real estate
Previously, visa rules until 2021 allowed foreigners to stay in the country for 90 days, following which the foreigners had to submit written notice to Thai authorities to get longer stay visas. These visas did not allow foreign visa holders to hire foreign work staff. While some concessions were made and 1 foreign staff could be hired per 4 Thai staff, this visa had many other limitations as well.
New Long-Term Stay Visa With Concessions 2022 Onwards
Eligible candidates can apply to stay in Thailand with a new type of visa that is valid for 10 years. This long-term resident visa will also be extended to the applicant’s spouse and children. Eligible candidates that apply for this type of new Thai visa will also be issued an automatic work permit. As of now, the Jury is still not out about the foreign workers’ policy, although this should be determined soon.
Tax Rules Until 2021
As per Thai rules, any foreigner who stayed in Thailand for over 180 days was considered a resident only for taxation purposes. Until recently the Personal Income Tax law in Thailand required all residents to pay yearly taxes as per their income slab. The tax slabs in Thai bahts ranged from 0% for up to 150,000 to 35% for earnings over 4,000,000 every financial year.
Tax Perks and Benefits from 2022
From the year 2022, eligible applicants are eligible to pay the same income tax slabs as Thai citizens. In addition, they are eligible for further tax exemptions for any income they have earned abroad. As per the Eastern Economic Corridor Scheme, foreigners are also eligible to apply for a further concession of paying a fixed 17% Personal Income Tax Rate despite their earnings.
Land And Property Ownership Concessions and Benefits
Land and Property Rules In Thailand Up Until 2021
The Thai land and property rules until 2021 did not give many concessions and benefits to foreigners. Yes, while foreigners could own individual condominium units and even condotel units, both taxation laws, as well as freehold property laws, prevented foreigners from enjoying their property to the maximum.
Informative and comprehensive blogs on this topic include Can Foreigners Investing Bangkok Real Estate and Top ways Foreigners Can Own Property in Thailand.
Land And Property Benefits, Perks and Concessions from 2022 Onwards
Eligible applicants who qualify for these perks can now enjoy a series of relaxations on both rent and foreign ownership of property and land in Thailand. These incentives will be overseen and evaluated by Thailand’s Office of National Economic and Social Development Council.
The concessions will be tried and tested out for Five Financial years, starting from the year 2022 right until the year 2026. If the council sees fit then the authorities will give their go-ahead and extend the benefits for the next 5 years. While it has been made clear that there will be confirmed concessions in land and property matters as far as foreign ownership goes, the exact details are yet to be revealed with clarity.
Who is Eligible To Apply For The Foreigners Tax, Land and Immigration Benefits?
The perks, benefits and concessions mentioned here are eligible only to select categories of foreigners, mainly crème da la crème investors, highly skilled incentives, affluent retirees and wealthy global citizens.
Category 1 – Wealthy Global Citizens
Any foreigner who earns a minimum of US$80,000 income in the last 2 months as well as has a nest egg of assets of a minimum of US$1 million is eligible for the mentioned incentives. Moreover, the applicant should have a minimum of US$100,000 in the form of medical insurance coverage as well as an investment in Thai Government bonds and/or real estate no lesser than US$500,000.
Category 2 – Affluent and Wealthy Pensioners
Any retired pensioner who can show a stable pension of a minimum of US$40,000 in the last 12 months and is a minimum of 50 years old can apply. Moreover, the applicant should have valid medical insurance coverage of a minimum of US$100,000 as well as an investment in Thai Government bonds and/or real estate no lesser than US$250,000.
Category 3 – Remote Working Foreign Professionals Living In Thailand
Any foreign professional who chooses to work from home or remotely as a digital nomad from any place in Thailand for an extended time can apply provided the financial criteria have been met. The financial criteria include a minimum of US$80,000 in the form of income in the last 24 months as well as a minimum of 5 years of relevant work experience.
Category 4 – Best In Their Field Executives and Highly Skilled Professionals
Any highly skilled professional such as top-performing executives who have successfully earned a minimum of US$80,000 in the last 24 months can apply. Alternatively, professionals who have earned an aggregate of $40,000 minimum in the last 12 months in a targeted industry can apply.
The targeted industries include digital systems, infrastructure, buildings, and logistical systems. Additionally, researchers and experts that work in tangents with state agencies and as university professors or lecturers are also eligible to apply.
The Goals of The Thai Government For A Complete Recovery from The Pandemic
The Thai government has proposed these concessions through various initiatives to make hay while the sun shines. These perks are not only useful to foreigners but also to Thai Citizens and the Thai economy. They are enabling foreigners to travel, work and live in a country they often dream of, while rebuilding Thailand’s economy.
It is estimated that over the stipulated 5 years plan the various schemes and initiatives may pump in approximately 800 billion baht or US$24.1 billion from investors. It is also estimated that this shift in Thai laws and the many perks can generate 270 billion baht or US$8.1 billion from personal income tax.
Finally, the game changer which is the value-added tax can generate an estimated 70 billion baht or US$2.1 billion and an additional amount of 22 billion baht or US$662 million in investment-related taxes and fees.
Additional Relaxations for Foreigners Living In Thailand Under The New Benefits
To make affluent foreigners feel more at home, Tai officials have announced a relaxed ban on sales of alcohol in many areas that were previously hindering foreigners to enjoy the nightlife due to COVID 19 and the pandemic. Furthermore, Thailand officials have gone an extra mile and launched the “Sandbox Reopening” initiative that promotes certain parts of the country through reduced restrictions for tourists that are travelling and living in Thailand.
While the Thai Cabinet has passed these new relaxations, and concessions and offered benefits to foreigners, it should be noted that there is not enough clarity on the matter as yet. Topics such as the grounds on how foreigners can prove their net worth are yet to be discussed and information is yet to be fully disclosed.
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The Silk Estate website provides you with the best prime location listings in Thailand and the Silk Estate blog brings to you the latest news about Thai laws for foreigners. We also offer you guidance, and expert advice about all topics pertaining to Thai Laws for Foreigners, Expats and Investors.
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