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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawWould Retirees Need to Pay Proposed Thai "Tourist Tax"?

Would Retirees Need to Pay Proposed Thai "Tourist Tax"?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing essentially the Tourist Tax or proposed so-called Tourist Tax, however you want to look at it. Apparently this appears to be kind of on the back burner but it has kind of been bubbling around the discussions in the ether, on the internet, in the press and frankly when it kind of gets like that, I start to wonder if it might not be firming up into something more serious. 

The reason for the video pertains more to retirees. Quoting directly from the Pattaya Mail, that is, the article is titled: Proposed tourist tax in Thailand derailed yet again. Quote: "However, most expats - even Elite Card holders, retirees and those married to Thais - would be expected to pay even though they were not tourists. Some Airlines had already intimated that the bureaucratic complexities of implementation were formidable to say the least." Yeah, I can imagine. Interesting here. 

As we have discussed in other videos, an Elite Visa is basically just a prolonged Tourist Visa. I know that isn't really how people want it to be presented exactly but it really is what it is, it is a really long Tourist Visa. It does not confer work authorization as we have discussed in other videos; it is not Permanent Residence. You still have to deal with the same things like Visa Extension and 90 day reporting. It is a standard Non-Immigrant Visa; it's just sort of front loaded so that you know you have a certain amount of status depending on your membership structure within Thailand Elite. Meanwhile I do understand the argument against retirees getting sort of stuck with this because they really aren't tourists and as we have discussed in other videos, apparently this proposed Tourist Tax would not apply to Work Permit holders and the reasoning behind that is Work Permit holders are clearly working in Thailand. Notwithstanding the fact they are Non-Immigrants they are clearly not tourists. Well you can make the same argument for retirees. They are here permanently or at least on a permanent basis, definitely more permanent than a tourist and that is just how it is. Married to Thais, that is a little bit different. That is an O Visa, it is an “Other” category Visa again without a Work Permit, it is hard to say what that individual is doing. In a lot of cases I think the O Marriage Visa was primarily designed for people to kind of come and go and be able to see their Thai spouse. Lacking a Work Permit and I have actually talked to Immigration Officers over the years about this concept, lacking a Work Permit, it is viewed as less permanent.

Now whether or not that is really a fair assessment, I think reasonable people can disagree. If it were me I don't think this Tourist Tax idea is all that great an idea to begin with. If it were me implementing it I would probably not include O Marriage Visa holders either. Now that said. I wouldn't impose it at all. I don't think it's a great idea to do it at this time but it is interesting that there would be this differentiation and trying to sort of separate the wheat from the wheat quite frankly, because I think they are all positive contributors to the Thai economy but separating one kind of wheat from the other kind of wheat I think it would prove to be a pretty difficult process and perhaps it's not worth a $9 surcharge for every person coming in.