Government seeks to raise number of taxpayers

August 19, 201610:01 am276 views
Government seeks to raise number of taxpayers
Somchai: Target is 20 million taxpayers (photo:

The Revenue Department has been instructed to seek ways to increase the number of taxpayers, says permanent secretary for finance Somchai Sujjapongse, a move that would help fund government spending.

The target number of individual taxpayers is 20 million based on the size of the country’s workforce he said, adding that the Revenue Department itself should either carry out the study or outsource it.

At present, the country’s workforce numbers 30 million, of whom 10.9 million file tax returns. Only 4 million individuals are subject to personal income tax payments, while almost 7 million are exempt.

For corporate entities, around 600,000 of the 1 million-plus companies and partnerships submit income tax returns, while only 400,000 are liable to pay taxes.

The Finance Ministry is exploring potential tax reforms in an effort to boost government coffers in light of numerous big-ticket infrastructure projects, a pension safety net and social welfare benefits for those near the bottom of the economic ladder. Higher tax revenue will also help the government balance its budget over the next 6-7 years after running deficits for the past several years.

The government has unveiled new taxes including a land and buildings tax, an inheritance tax and a gift tax. It also plans to impose a so-called betterment tax on developed land near big-ticket infrastructure projects to create new sources of tax revenue.

The government is on track to hit this fiscal year’s revenue target of 2.33 trillion baht after revenue for the eight months to May surpassed expectations for that period by 4.1%.

For the first eight months of this fiscal year, revenue amounted to 1.56 trillion baht, exceeding the target by 61 billion and up 13.4% year-on-year. The increase was attributed to the 48.2 billion baht generated by the auctions of the 900- and 1800-megahertz spectrum licences.

Mr Somchai also recommended that the Revenue Department develop tax maps for Know Your Customer, a move to let the country’s largest tax-collecting agency become aware when any person acquires additional land, homes or taxable assets.

The Interior Ministry should give information for such asset holdings to the Revenue Department, he said, adding that if there are any legal stumbling blocks toward handing over that information, amendments should be proposed to remove them.

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