Tax breaks for tourism spending in secondary provinces from Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2018 were aprroved by cabinet yesterday. The move is intended to distribute income to these provinces and make the recovery more broad-based.
Those who spend on accommodation and food and drink at these secondary locations next year can use the receipts to claim a tax deduction of up to 15,000 baht, said Prasong Poontaneat, director-general of the Revenue Department. The department allows travellers to use receipts instead of full tax invoices to claim the deduction, as most tourism operators in secondary provinces make an income of less than 1.8 million baht a year, Mr Prasong said.
The tax-collecting agency requires all operators earning at least 1.8 million baht to register for the value-added tax system. The Tourism and Sports Ministry will decide which provinces will enjoy the tax incentive, Mr Prasong added.
The government is pushing efforts to stimulate rural economies towards broad-based growth. Despite solid economic growth of 3.8 percent for the nine months to September and healthy exports, rural areas have been left behind. Mr Prasong went on to say that although the Revenue Department will lose some money from the tax breaks, it is still worthwhile distributing income to provincial economies.
While major markets like Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri and Songkhla cannot participate in the tax break scheme, there are more than 61 eligible provinces, including Lampang, Loei, Trat, Nan, Chaiyaphum, Suphan Buri, Samut Sakhon, Chanthaburi, Buri Ram and Chumphon, Mr Weerasak said.
Each tourist can deduct up to 15,000 baht worth of purchases made during trips to these provinces from their personal income tax, said Yuthasak Supasorn (above), governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Thai tourists will be able to receive receipts for tourism products and services in these 61 provinces starting from Jan 1, 2018.