Establishing a Representative Office provides foreign companies a way to investigate business and market opportunities in Thailand.
A Representative Office is an 100% foreign owned extension of an overseas headquarters, using the same name as its parent company. It is not an independent legal entity separated from the head office, and there are no shareholders or directors.
The Representative Office provides services to the head office, affiliated company, or group company without receiving income. It is required to remit its entire operating expenditure from aboard, in a total of at least 2 million Baht. Mentioned funds have to be transferred to the Representative Office’s bank account upon opening.
The Representative Office has no authority to receive purchase orders, to offer for sale, or to negotiate on business with any individual or juristic person.
The Representative Office may undertake one or more of the approved activities, as follows:
• Procurement of supply sources of goods or services in Thailand for the head office or affiliated/group companies
• Inspection and control of the quantity and quality of goods purchased or hired for manufacturing purposes in Thailand by the head office or affiliated/group companies
• Consultation on various aspects of goods sold by the head office or affiliated/group companies to agents, distributors, or customers in Thailand
• Providing information to interested persons in Thailand concerning new goods or services of the head office or affiliated/group companies
• Reporting on business developments in Thailand to the head office or affiliated/group companies.
For other activities beside those mentioned above, the authority will not grant permission.
These activities are not allowed to be served to any clients in foreign countries, but must be done in Thailand only.
Since 9 June 2017, the Representative Office is exempt from obtaining a Foreign Business License prior to commencing business operations.
If a foreigner wishes to operate such a business, he needs to notify the Department of Business Development (DBD), which will issue, within 3-5 business days, a 13-digit registration number and a Certification Letter. This letter contains the name of the entity, the address of the office in Thailand, and the name of the responsible persons. At least one of those persons must have a domicile in Thailand. Domicile means the contactable residence in Thailand, which can be the place of business, excluding temporary residences such as hotels.
With the Certification Letter the Representative Office can request tax ID, VAT registration, social security, and open bank accounts.
The Representative Office can conduct business for an indefinite period of time.
The Representative Offices do not generate income and therefore are not subject to Thai taxation. Gross receipts or revenues received by a Representative Office from the head office are not qualified as revenue but they still must obtain a corporate tax identification number and submit income tax returns and audited financial statements (even if nil) to the Revenue Department and Department of Business Development. Individual aliens and all local staff are required to obtain taxpayer cards and pay personal income tax.