In this week’s article I would like to talk about licenses here in Thailand. Like any other country there are many licenses that are issued for multiple uses and purposes. From a driving license to work permits to liquor licenses, there are certain rules and regulations concerning each license that may be difficult to obtain as much of the information is in Thai language only. One such license such as a liquor license may extend to not just the selling of alcoholic products but to their importation and supplying, depending on the license type one may be able to sell alcohol to the public but is not able to import it into the Kingdom.
The governing body that collects the taxes from alcohol is the Excise Department located in the Ministry of Finance, they are also the ones who issue the licenses and are the regulatory agency of alcohol production and distribution. Anyone planning to sell alcohol should apply for a license here, which is a relatively easy process to go through as Thailand has a huge demand to satisfy its hospitality industry as well as its local restaurants, pubs and clubs. After obtaining the license the owner will then be able to sell alcohol during the allotted times 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 12am. Also license holders are prohibited to sell alcohol to people under the age of 20 and selling next to educational institutes such as schools and universities.
If in the case that importing alcohol is needed then a whole other license on top of the liquor license, this process is noticeably more complicated but not unobtainable in any way. Though if the imported alcohol is for personal consumption then it can be as simple as the initial liquor license. The permit that enables you to import and then trade the alcohol requires having things such as; pro forma invoices, showing place of business or lease contract and having bottle labels approved by the department which can take time. Many companies go through this process as alcohol is big business here in Thailand with a marketed increase in wine sales which make up almost twenty percent of all alcohol imported into the country.
Though the market is good it doesn’t mean that it is cheap to import liquor, the tax on imported liquor is usually broken down as follows:
• Customs import duty fee.
• Excise tax which can has a ceiling of 60% depending on what country the alcohol was imported from, this can be as low as 5% or even be eliminated by importing from countries under the FTA (free trade agreement) or the AFTA or (ASEAN free trade agreement).
• Municipal tax of 10% of the Excise tax.
• Value added tax or VAT of 7%.
• A government health support project of 2%
The way to calculate all of these taxes are dependent on market rates, the type and volume of alcohol and is a complicated process that
COMMENT: Anytime you are required to have a license to support or operate a business it is vital to have the proper permits, please don’t start doing business until the license is in your hands as it’s illegal to do so and you can be fined and punished severely. It’s also important to renew any licenses that may be expired and to display them where they are easily seen, by following this advice you will ensure that you won’t be punished or even lose any licenses you may have. Please feel free to contact us and we will answer any questions or queries you may have.