Opinion: Making me pay tax is fine but where does it go?

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In 1789, American statesman Benjamin Franklin recorded in a letter, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.

And boy, will the new income tax law starting Jan 1, 2024 will make us feel like we’d rather have the other one.

According to an official document released on Sep 15, “…those that have earnings from occupation or business abroad or wealth that is located abroad…and have brought these assets into Thailand…must factor this into their personal income tax for the year.”

Translation: For those who get any money from overseas and are permanent residents in Thailand will be qualified to pay taxes in Thailand from next year. That’s not all. This new law is not limited to only just incomes, but literally any of your assets coming into your bank account from overseas, will now be taxable.

To clarify, it has always been taxable if declared. But from next year onwards, they will be able to check.

This would mean up to 35% deductible tax for an individual, unless you’re registered as a company, then it should be around 20%.

I, myself, will be one of those individuals.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, taxes are unavoidable in life, we all have to pay taxes one way or the other, less or more, in whichever form in our daily life. There’s no escaping from it.

And as a Thai citizen, I’m happy to contribute to this, in hope that it would make my home country a better place, reduce the inequality gap amongst the citizens, better roads, better footpaths, more parks, better healthcare, or build a safety net for those under-privileged individuals.

I get none of those, not even a quarter of the amount I pay or will have to start paying next year. I still even have to pay for my own private insurance!

My friends and I are no strangers when it comes to paying for things that make our lives better, good restaurants, luxury hotels to name a few. Things that make us feel like, “you get what you pay for”, we have no problems paying for.

Compared to other countries in Europe that pay more taxes, the quality of living is more justifiable. But the amount of taxes we have to pay in Thailand, it doesn’t make us feel like that. 

The bottom line for me is: I can pay, but what do I get out of it?


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