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ResourcesCorporate and Tax AdvisoryThailand Tax LawDo YouTubers in Thailand Need to Pay Taxes?

Do YouTubers in Thailand Need to Pay Taxes?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing "you tubing" and those who are on YouTube here in the Kingdom of Thailand so-called You Tubers if you will.

I get a lot of questions You Tubers from time to time regarding taxes and work authorization and I figured it was probably high time I go ahead just make a video on the topic. Those who are interested in You Tubing in Thailand, and they are not a few folks that have pretty heavily followed channels here in the Kingdom and the question arises, "are you subject to tax for money made in the Kingdom as a result of You Tubing?" My rather more definitive answer than my answer to work authorization associated with YouTube, my rather more definitive answer is "yes, generally speaking Revenue Departments always default to "Yes you owe tax! Never ever forget that." I am kind of joking but as a general rule Revenue Department be it the IRS in the United States, the Inland Revenue Service in the UK or the Revenue Department here in Thailand, generally take the position "yes you owe us money". That is sort of their default, if you will.

That being stated, there are circumstances where folks are exempt but with respect to You Tubing, if one is actively You Tubing here in the Kingdom and they are deriving an income from that activity, I think it is fairly clear that they are going to be subject to tax liability in this jurisdiction, in Thailand. That being stated, my view should not be taken as definitive on the topic. I am the Managing Director of this firm. I am not a Thai Attorney. We have Thai Attorneys, Thai Accountants, folks that work in the Corporate Services area that deal with this on a much more frequent basis than I do although I have been privy to many cases over here dealing with this issue.

The thing to take away from this video is I think you should just start from a default position of 'yes" and try to get yourself into the best possible position or posture if you will with respect to tax liability here in the Kingdom. That being stated, in a recent article from the Bangkok Post, that is, the article is titled: OTT Oversight a Hot Topic in ASEAN. This was a rather long article.  I urge those who are watching this video to go ahead and check it out but there were a couple of things that I thought were noteworthy. They don't directly speak to this topic but I will get to why I wanted to read these quotes here in a moment. Quoting directly, "Policy makers also need to clearly define which types of OTT (that means Over the Top) sorts of businesses like YouTube, Facebook, Amazon; companies that are primarily operating online that Thai Tax Authorities have a difficult time assessing tax against or more importantly enforcing tax liability against. They have been over the years, especially about 2 years ago back in 2017, they have tried to come up with frameworks to deal with this and largely they have been rather unsuccessful. That doesn't mean they will be forever. Again quoting directly, "Policymakers also need to clearly define which types of OTT business would be taxed. OTT businesses can range from those running a free “video on demand” service, with advertisements to the operators who require subscription fees for video on demand services without ads."  Quoting further, "As for YouTube, users can make money, create jobs and become entrepreneurs who have to pay tax."

Why do I bring this up? Well I bring it up because it is more or less for lack of a better term a kind of warning, or maybe acting like an oracle if you will; I don't mean to sound overly pretentious but to provide some insight moving forward. So perhaps today they don't have the enforcement capability to deal with You Tubers etc. in a Tax and Revenue gathering sense, it doesn't mean they are not thinking about it and I think they are thinking rather hard about it because they want to go ahead and get some Tax Revenue associated with those revenue streams that people are deriving from doing their You Tubing here in the Kingdom.

So those with monetized accounts, do I think that this is something like "the sky is falling; Chicken Little"?  No, certainly not but it is something to keep in the back of your mind that you may have to be dealing with sometime in the future and as with the video I did on the topic of Work Permits associated with You Tubing, it might not be a terrible idea to think of getting a work permit if for no other reason than to more clearly define ones Revenue stream so as to possible in the future mitigate being overtaxed as a result of the vagueness associated with one’s Revenue stream because while being a nebulous sort of business can be rather beneficial under certain circumstances there are other circumstances where that vagueness can operate against you and when the Tax Department does one day have the enforcement capability to render and to collect taxes or access taxes against individuals in this sphere, believe me they will do so and they are not going to do so lightly. So dealing with and possibly mitigating the negative consequences of over assessment in the future may not be a terrible idea in the present.