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Thailand to Introduce New International Business Centre Regime and Abolish Existing Regimes

On 9 October 2018, the Thai Cabinet approved the introduction of the International Business Center (IBC) regime, which will replace the current International Headquarters regime, the Regional Headquarters regime, the Treasury Center regime, and the International Trading Center regime, all of which have been found harmful as part of the OECD review in relation to BEPS Action 5. The IBC regime must now be approved by Thailand's National Assembly (parliament).

Qualifying companies under the new IBC regime will be eligible for a number of benefits/incentives, including:

  • Reduced corporate tax rates on qualifying service, treasury center, and royalty income based on meeting annual local operating expenditure thresholds, including:
    • A 3% rate if at least THB 600 million local expenditure
    • A 5% rate if at least THB 300 million local expenditure; and
    • An 8% rate if at least THB 60 million local expenditure;
  • A tax exemption on both domestic and foreign-sourced dividend income;
  • A withholding tax exemption on dividend and interest payments to foreign beneficiaries;
  • An exemption from specific business tax on qualifying treasury center income; and
  • A flat personal income tax rate of 15% for expatriate employees.

The basic conditions to qualify for the IBC regime include:

  • At least THB 10 million registered share capital;
  • At least THB 60 million local expenditure; and
  • At least 10 employees (5 for treasury center).

For companies that have already been approved for incentives under the existing regimes, those incentives will generally continue to apply until the approval expires. However, those with Regional Headquarter status may only apply incentives until 2020. Applications for the existing regimes are no longer accepted from 10 October 2018, and those that were pending approval as of that date will not be further processed. Once approved and effective, companies under the existing regimes may opt to change to the new IBC regime, with certain transitional provisions.

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