E-tax system rollout will close many loopholes

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Step into the future.
Male sneakers on the asphalt road with yellow line and title Future. Step into the future.

The Revenue Department recently estimated that it will see a doubling to four trillion baht once the much-vaunted e-tax system is rolled out in 2019. This will be because tax avoidance loopholes will be effectively closed or, at worst, seriously reduced.

Once the system is in place, all purchases of goods and services will go through the e-tax system and by this means the Revenue Department will be aware of all transactions and this should enable it to calculate tax payments more accurately.

The e-tax system is just one major cog in what will be the larger national e-payment system which is aimed at transforming Thailand into a largely cashless society with a digital economy.

The e-tax system is designed to enable the Revenue Department to become more efficient at tax collection by use of big data analytics, while electronic data capture terminals, which will be installed in shops across the country, will allow the Department to gather information about tax payment transactions.

A budget of 2.3 billion baht has been set aside to facilitate the installation of the e-tax system. The process will take up to two years to complete because it has to encompass all other state agencies, as well as non-government operators and financial institutions. It also needs to be tested and refined as there will be inevitable teething problems with the installation of such a mammoth technological setup.

The Revenue Department has announced plans to begin educating private companies and taxpayers including goldsmiths, small and medium-sized enterprises, travel agents and pharmacies on how to record accounts accurately as the Department will be basing each tax bill based on the information that is logged into the e-tax system.

As well, the Bank of Thailand is currently coordinating with banks to require companies seeking loans to present financial statements that will also be filed with the Revenue Department as a document to be used for loan scrutiny. This is in a bid to encourage single financial accounts. This requirement is expected to come into force on January 1, 2019.

The Revenue Department has also expressed confidence that its tax-collection target of 1.87 trillion baht for this fiscal year is reachable. It bases this on its own improved efficiency regarding its collection streams as well as the recovering economy (especially in the export sector), and its measures at drawing more taxpayers into the formal system.