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Friday, 9 October 2009

VAT, Language and Trouble in Thailand!

Value Added Tax (VAT) has been a fact of life in many countries for years and is gradually being implemented in many more. Thailand requires registration for VAT on any business the turnover of which exceeds Baht 1.8 million per year. Therefore when you first open a business you do not need to register until you reach that magic figure. Of course during that period you cannot reclaim VAT charged by your suppliers either. The implication of that magic number was highlighted recently with a couple of properties on which I was advising. Both small with relatively small incomes but which projections showed would grow over the next few months and exceed the registration limit.

I will give an example to illustrate the point. You have a Room Rate of Baht 1,000 per night. Your income one day reaches Baht 1.8 million. You are required to register for VAT. Your net rate suddenly becomes Baht 935. OK, so now you can set off suppliers VAT, but many are not registered themselves so the offset tends to be minimal. To maintain the status quo you have to increase your room rate to Baht 1,070 per night and in a climate where lack of tourism is putting pressure on room rates anyway, that may not be feasible. It not only affects your room rate but all your other income as well – food, drink and any other services you may charge for. Something of a dilemma but a bullet that has to be bitten at some point if you are intent on expanding your business.

It does not matter in which country you live but there is always amusement to be had when languages get mangled in translation. I was told a story recently of someone who received a phone call from his house maid that his cat had come home with its ears painted green. He instructed the maid to collar the cat – presumably to stop it straying. When he got home he found the cat had been painted with white gloss paint. The maid had not understood collar and thought he meant colour the cat. Let’s not get into the “use her common sense” argument. He now has the only bald cat with green ears on Samui. I had another amusing experience with someone very close to me. Driving in the car one night I had a CD playing with the Nat King Cole classic “Straighten up and Fly Right”. After a few minutes of listening to this she turned to me and asked “Why he sing about fried rice?” Work it out for yourself!

Last month the main topic of conversation was the unfortunate crash of the Bangkok Airways ATR at Samui Airport. One of the reports was from someone who had been listening to the Air Traffic Control transmissions at the time. If you want to know more about Samui Airport, the radio frequencies and look at the approach charts for pilots you can find all this on line here at this link. Or this one for detail from The Thai Flying Club.

The television documentary shown on Bravo in the UK and widely distributed on You Tube “Big Trouble in Thailand” has drawn mixed reactions, mainly critical from the Thai authorities. Having now watched four of the episodes the only one which in my opinion shows Thailand in a bad light is the incident with the jet-ski operator in Phuket. The rest show the tourists in a much worse light. I have never been to a Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan and have no wish to do so. I do know many people who have been there and it is clear that drugs are widely available. If the Police arrested everyone in possession of drugs there they would need a very large holding facility. Why then did the girl in the programme get pulled for a small amount of marijuana? She was lucky to get off as lightly as she did although it was obviously a very harrowing experience.

And property prices continue to fall! If you check our web site and look at the Hot Press Offers you will see a great number of properties with prices that have been reduced from between 15% and 50% with an average reduction of 37% during this last month. These reductions are now beginning to produce sales and, although still not many, there are a few more buyers around than there were a few weeks ago. NEW REDUCTIONS EVERY MONTH!

See in particular the following properties – CTRL + click to follow the link:

3 bedroom house in Bangrak with walled garden and pool. Originally Baht 15m. Now available at Baht 10.9 million.

2 bedroom bungalow in Plai Laem with pool – originally Baht 11 million. Now available at Baht 8.8m.

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