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Thai Immigration's TM30 Enforcement: The Tax Connection

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the TM30. For those who are unaware, a TM30 is a form that needs to be filed by housemasters and landlords that are here in Thailand, when they are allowing a foreign national, a foreigner if you will, in the Kingdom to stay on their premises for a 24-hour period or more.  Hotels are also covered by the rules pertaining to TM30

So why are we bringing up TM30 in the context of tax? Well I have done a lot of videos on this channel about TM30 and those who are interested can go ahead and check the search function on this channel and check out more information about how TM30 works.  But I found TM30 rather fascinating because there is sort of a sister document known as a TM28 that doesn't seem to particularly be quite so much of interest to authorities and I have had different reasons explained to me why. I am not exactly certain if any of them are correct.  There are just sometimes situations wherein things sort of stop being enforced as they once were in the past. But one thing I think is insightful with respect to the TM30 came from a recent article in the Bangkok Post. Now this article elucidated this point but when I first saw TM30 being enforced more heavily, I started thinking the same thing as what we are going to get into. I wasn't certain of it but I was fairly aware that there may be different motives than just the one out front and center with respect to Immigration enforcement and we will get into that here. 

In a recent article in the Bangkok Post entitled Thailand Immigration Controls Getting Tough with Guests. Again, Bangkok Post, bangkokpost.com.  Quoting directly: "Who must be reported by TM30?" Quoting further: "Foreigners staying at private houses, condominiums and private apartments that are not hotels have been escaping registration. These establishments welcome guests without reporting either to Immigration or to the Revenue Department. Both organizations are seeking to crack down on such evasions so as to be able to collect data but also tax on income received.  Registration is now required on each entry into Thailand." This is a really good article. I am not going to quote everything in here. The author of this article did a really good job. It is quite extensive. For those who want to get into TM30 really deep, I really recommend it. Again, Thailand Immigration Controls Getting Tough with Guests.  

But this is something that I think is extremely noteworthy. I have seen a lot of foreigners, lo these past roughly six or eight weeks since we have started seeing TM30 enforcement on the rise, and many of them think “Oh, they just sort of after all of us foreigners!” I don't think that is really the case. Yes, I think Immigration enforcement is becoming a higher priority for those within the Immigration apparatus here in the Kingdom but that being stated, I think that noting the revenue angle of this was very, very much something that I think should not be overlooked. The reason for this is, TM30 enforcement, there are fines associated with failure to file, there may be some revenue generated as a result of that; that is small potatoes. Those who have been renting, and rental income is taxed on a different rate compared to other types of income here in the Kingdom, those who have been renting to foreigners, possibly there is an argument that they might have been getting a premium for renting to foreigners because sometimes foreigners are willing to pay more, generally speaking value for money, but that being said you know certain Thais don't have the budget to rent the kind of premises that foreigners may rent, there are certain landlords that may not have been disclosing their rental income and the TM30 is a perfect way to get that information. 

As we have noted in other videos on this channel, the entire Immigration apparatus as well as the rest of the Governmental apparati here in the Kingdom are working much more closely together than they have, even in the recent past. We are seeing a lot more correspondence between certain aspects of the bureaucracy here.  We are seeing different departments communicating with each other in a much more streamlined manner compared to times past. So it is not at all outside the realm of possibility that Revenue and Immigration are coordinating together, not necessarily to deal with anything having to do with the foreigners because Immigration is going to deal with that directly, but to provide a database of information of possible folks who are not reporting their income that is derived from rent particularly in this case to foreigners living here in the Kingdom of Thailand.