At GPS Legal, we get many inquiries about starting a business in Thailand. We often find that these entrepreneurs have received misleading or even completely erroneous information. We would like to take this opportunity to address these misconceptions.
We recently offered an overview of Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) certification program, whereby companies can qualify for certain promotions or privileges if they meet certain criteria. But are these BOI privileges worth the application for and the maintaining of the qualifications?
Although in affect since 1979, TM30 filings were loosely enforced and mainly expected from hotels, focusing on travelers with tourist visas. However, over the last few years, Thai police and immigration authorities have looked to TM30s to keep track of foreigners, particularly those here illegally through overstayed visas or involved criminal acts. Since they may not necessarily be staying at hotels, the full definition of the law is now being enforced. Unfortunately, this resulted in increased bureaucracy for all foreigners, especially those with long-term visas who plan on renewing them.
Living in Thailand as an expatriate with a family is surely an excellent adventure for children! The opportunity to travel and experience different cultures and the myriad of thrills and learning opportunities that help expand their horizons as they develop into well-rounded adults. But what happens if, unfortunately, tragedy befalls that excellent adventure, and something should happen to you as a parent? Do you have guardianship arrangements in place that Thai law will recognize?
To encourage foreign investment into Thailand, the Board of Investment (BOI) offers a range of incentives for foreign businesses that qualify. Activities and projects that meet investment, structural, and operational criteria receive such benefits as corporate tax holidays, import duty exemptions, land ownership and work permit waivers for foreign employees to name a few.
A business in Thailand is classified as a foreign entity if more than 50% of its share or partner capital is foreign owned. And while many people believe their only option is to form a “local” company with a majority Thai ownership to avoid perceived or actual business restrictions, a foreigner can in fact own and operate any kind of business except those specifically restricted.
Thailand remains an attractive destination for foreign investors and business owners seeking out new markets to open a new or expand an existing business. Nevertheless, those who wish to establish majority or wholly foreign-owned business entities need to be aware of Thailand’s laws and regulations regarding foreign investment.