Govt eyes land, property taxes to boost revenue

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BANGKOK, Oct 22 – The Thai government is mulling a bill on land and property taxes, and revising obsolete taxation laws, the director general of the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) said today.

In a speech on “The State’s Fiscal and Investment Policy in the Next Five Years,” Somchai Sajjapong said the Finance Ministry was revising Thailand’s tax and fiscal policy structure.

Though the government disagreed with increasing the excise and value added taxes (VAT), he said the two laws would eventually be reviewed in accord with economic factors and domestic consumption – the major source of revenue for infrastructure development.

Thailand’s overall tax base remains rather low compared to many countries, he said, adding that the FPO would press for collection of land and property taxes.

The tax structure was already submitted to Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong who stood firm that the new tax base would not affect people who buy property for housing purposes.

Taxes will be levied on unoccupied and land purchased for speculation, he said.

Mr Somchai said revised laws on fiscal and financial structures would be significant in strengthening Thailand’s competitive edge and giving more flexibility to the private sector.

Regarding the government’s Bt2 trillion investment on infrastructure development, the FPO director general said borrowing would not have an impact on the country’s financial discipline and public debt in the next seven years would not exceed 50 per cent of gross domestic product.

It is necessary that the government creates debt to invest and solve existing problems, he said, insisting that issuing the bill to borrow Bt2 trillion for the mega projects would allow more flexibility in allocating funds to the national budget.

The Bt2 trillion loans bill will go through required legal process and environment impact assessments, and it was endorsed by the National Economic and Social Development Board and the Budget Bureau before the Cabinet’s final approval, he said.