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Rajah & Tann Regional Round-Up

your snapshot of key legal developments in Asia

Issue 1 - Jan/Feb/Mar 2021



THAILAND

Labour-Related Relief Measures to Ease Impact from COVID-19 Outbreak

The Ministry of Labour has introduced new regulations under the Social Security Act B.E. 2533 to help individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, under the regulations, the employer's and the employee's contributions to the Social Security Fund were reduced to 3% of the employee's monthly wages (but not exceeding THB 450 per month) from 1 January 2021 until 31 March 2021. The employee's contribution was further reduced from 3% to 0.5% of the employee's monthly wages (but not exceeding THB 75 per month) for the period from 1 February 2021 until 31 March 2021.


In addition, the Social Security Office will also pay compensation of 50% of the employee's daily wages (but not exceeding THB 250 per day) to an employee who:


  1. does not work or is not permitted by the employer to work as a result of being quarantined or in compliance with COVID-19 protective measures; or

  2. is unable to work due to temporary cessation of the employer's business operations as a result of the government's order for the purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19.


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Tax Relief Measures in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic

The Revenue Department has provided several tax-relief measures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the rate of withholding tax on the payment of certain taxable income from 1 October 2020 to 31 December 2021 has been reduced from 3% to 2%, provided that the payment of assessable income is made through the e-Withholding Tax system only. Further, from January 2021, the deadlines for the filing of personal income tax, corporate income tax, withholding tax, VAT, and specific business tax returns have been extended for eight days from their relevant due dates (provided that the filing of all such tax forms must be submitted through the online system only).


In relation to property transaction fees, the Ministry of Interior has provided additional tax relief to reduce registration fees for real estate transfers from 2% to 0.01% and real estate mortgage registration fees from 1% to 0.01% for certain types of properties. This measure is effective from 3 February 2021 until 31 December 2021.



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Guideline on Unfair Trade Practices of Online Food Delivery Platforms

The Trade Competition Commission ("Commission") issued the Notification of the Trade Competition Commission regarding the Guidelines for Considering Unfair Trade Practices between Online Food Delivery Service Providers and Restaurant Operators ("Notification"), which took effect on 23 December 2020. The Notification provides guidelines on unfair trade practices which may be considered as causing damage to restaurant operators. If any Online Food Delivery Platform commits any unfair practice under the Notification, it may be ordered by the Commission to suspend, stop, correct, or change such unfair practice under conditions prescribed by the Commission. It may also be subject to an administrative fine of up to 10% of its revenue for the year that such unfair practice was committed.



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Board of Investment's Acceleration Measures for 2021

On 21 December 2020, Thailand's Board of Investment ("BOI") approved a series of investment acceleration measures to stimulate Thailand's economy and encourage businesses to adopt digital technologies in 2021. A large-scale project in certain industries (business activities in groups A1, A2, and A3), with a realised investment of at least THB 1 billion within 12 months from the date on which the BOI promotion certificate is issued, would be entitled to an additional 50% corporate income tax ("CIT") deduction for a period of five years. Eligible applicants may apply for this investment promotion scheme before 30 December 2021.


In relation to investment in the Special Economic Zones ("SEZ") in ten provinces of Thailand, BOI has extended the application period for the special incentive scheme for the SEZ to the last working day of 2022. In addition, BOI is offering an 8-year CIT exemption and an additional 50% CIT deduction for another five years for 14 target industries, which include medical equipment, manufacturing, logistics, and electrical appliances and electronics.


Similarly, BOI has also extended the application period for the special incentive scheme for Thailand's five southernmost provinces until the last working day of 2022.  The measures include a low minimum investment requirement of THB 500,000, an 8-year CIT exemption, and an additional 50% CIT deduction for another five years.



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Please note that whilst the information in this Update is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief at the time of writing, it is only intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and should not be treated as a substitute for specific professional advice.

 

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