Stamp duty tax is not only often overlooked in Thailand, it is also quite often wrongly paid in Thailand and is also a tax risk for international business in Thailand.
Under the Revenue Code, stamp duty is taxed only on instruments/documents, not transactions or persons. Stamp duties are payable on most documents filed by companies with Government agencies or entities and on official documents of the company.
Only instruments listed in the stamp duty schedule are subject to stamp duty tax, and as follows:
• Contracts or agreements (Lease of land or buildings, Hire-purchase of property, Hire of work, Loan, and Partnership contract)
• Financial or commercial documents (Transfer of shares/debentures, Bill of exchange, Promissory note, Bill of lading, Share or debenture certificate, Cheque, Traveller’s cheque, Letter of credit, Receipt for interest bearing bank deposit, Carrier’s receipt, Suretyship, Pledge, Warehouse receipt, and Delivery order)
• Agency or power of attorney
• Duplicate or counterfoil of an original instrument
• Memorandum or Articles of Association of a limited company
• Proxy letter for voting at a meeting of a company
• Insurance policy
• Receipt in connection with transfer of right in immovable property which gives rise to its registration
• Receipt in connection with sale, transfer of ownership or hire purchase of a vehicle
Stamp duty tax rates vary from one instrument to another. In general rates are between 0.05% and 1%, although for certain instruments the stamp duty is capped e.g. for loan agreements stamp duty is capped at 10,000 Baht. Flat rate duties range from 1 to 200 Baht per instrument.
Stamp Duty Payment
In general, the beneficiary of the instrument must pay the stamp duty. Stamp duty is a tax levied on documents. A physical stamp affixed to the back of the document and then crossed out.
For certain instruments, the stamp duty must be paid in cash to the Revenue Department, e.g. a land or building lease agreements, or work agreements with values of 1 million Baht or more, land or building lease agreements for which the lease term is over three years, documents relating to corporate registration, and need to be submitted online.
The stamp duty must be paid within 15 days from the date on which an instrument is executed in Thailand, except that certain taxpayers, e.g. financial institutions and insurance companies, which are required to pay the stamp duty in cash twice a month.
For an instrument made outside of Thailand and subject to stamp duty, the first holder of the instrument in Thailand must pay in full the duty within 30 days from the date of receiving the instrument. Failure to comply with this requirement will allow any holder of the instrument to pay the duty and submit the instrument for collection, endorsement, transfer or claiming of benefit.
If a bill submitted for payment is not duty stamped, the recipient of the bill may pay the duty by stamping at the full amount and canceling. They can then be reimbursed by the person liable for duty or can deduct the amount of duty from the payment due.
If the receiver fails to pay the duty stamp, he is subject to a surcharge between two to six times the duty amount.
If the stamp duty on a document has not been paid, the document is not legal and cannot be produced as evidence in court until the duty and any penalty arising has been paid.