Accounting and the Revenue Department in Thailand
Wherever you are in the world, accountancy is often regarded as being ‘boring’ and often treated with general mistrust, often due to complicated rules and the fact that there are often many different interpretations of the same event. Accounting in Thailand is no different. These different interpretations can make it difficult to understand in your own country and this is why people usually use a qualified accountant — but this problem is magnified in another country where there can be language barriers along with different cultures, both professionally and socially. It really begs the question – why not take the advice of, and use the skills of a professional Thai accountant to deal with Thailand’s Revenue Department?
Thailand is certainly no different with regards to accounting when you consider the rules mentioned above. As with all countries the rules are probably different to those that you have been used to in your home country, although in reality many of the principles and practices will remain the same. As you can see below, some of the rules of the Revenue Department are not just specific to accounting in Thailand, but standard practice around the World.
In pretty much every country businesses are required to keep accounts regardless of whether they are public or private limited companies, partnerships or joint ventures. The only exception to this rule is a private individual. Again as with all countries they must ‘offer a true and fair reflection’ of the companies assets, liabilities, income and expenditure and be in line with Thai Accounting Standards that are governed by the Institute of Certified Accountants and Auditors of Thailand.
It may appear obvious but all too often this can be overlooked; new companies should formulate their first set of accounts within the first 12 months of becoming incorporated. The next set accounts, which should include a balance sheet as well as a profit and loss account should be submitted 12 months after this date. This should continue annually unless written approval is granted by the Director General of the Revenue Department.
All company accounts need to be certified by a licensed accountant regardless of the size of the company. This may seem like common practice and to be expected but it is often misunderstood in the context of property that is owned in company name – something that is common practice in Thailand. The general rule is that accounts need to be submitted regardless of whether the company is actually trading and turning over a profit. This must be done within 4 months of the close of the financial year. Once this has been done, the accounts need to be signed off and approved by the shareholders. Only after this has been completed can the accounts be submitted to the Revenue Department and Commercial Registrar. This must be completed within one month. Failure to do so or if the submitted the documents are incorrect you may be subjected to a fine of up to THB100,000 so it is certainly worthwhile ensuring that this is something that you keep on top of. Copies of these accounts must be held at the company’s registered office for a minimum of 5 years.
The issues relating to taxation in Thailand are dealt with in another article as this was intended to give a general overview of accounting practices in Thailand.
The information provided is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change. It is always advisable to speak to an expert to get correct, up to date advice prior to commencing your business.