Thailand company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN THAILAND IN 2017

Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC has assisted our Clients with business registration in Thailand. Our services include i) Thailand company registration ii) foreign business licensing approval iii) corporate bank account opening services iv) employee recruitment v) employee visa strategies and vi) office rental solutions.

SummaryAmity Treaty LLC51% LLC100% LLCFast solutionFree zone LLCThai ROHBranchRep officeThai PLC
Also known asThai-US LLCLocal CompanyWholly Foreign OwnedNominee solutionFZ LLCRegional HeadquartersBranchRep OfficePublic listed
Best use of company?shorter timeframe all products and servicesnon-restrictive businessclose a customerglobal tradingsupervise subsidiariesconsolidate lossesmarketing & researchto secure public funding
How long to supply corporate bank account numbers?1 month 2 weeks3 months1 week 2 weeks 2 weeks3 monthsCannot invoice3 months
How long to supply company registration / tax numbers?1 month1 month3 months 2 weeks1 month1 month6 weeks6 weeks2 months
How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts? 2 weeks 2 weeks 2 weeks1 week 2 weeks 2 weeks1 month1 month1 month
How soon can you sign a lease agreement?2 months1 month4 months1 month6 weeks6 weeks4 months4 months4 months
How soon can you hire staff?1 month1 month3 months 2 weeks1 month1 month3 months6 weeks3 months
Corporate tax rate on annual net profits?20%20%20%20%0%10%20%0%20%
Limited liability entity?YesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoYes
Minimum paid up share capital?US$60,000US$1US$60,000US$60,000US$60,000US$285,906US$87,285US$87,285US$622,000
Corporate bank account location?Kasikorn BankSCBHSBCANZHSBCANZKasikorn BankANZANZ
VAT payable on sales to local customers?7%7%7%7%0%7%7%No sales allowed7%
Average total business set up engagement costs?US$15,837US$29,777US$33,777US$43,532US$31,877US$15,925US$15,925US$16,925US$14,225
Average total engagement period?2 months1 month4 months1 month6 weeks6 weeks4 months4 months4 months

See full table

Accounting and tax considerationsAmity Treaty LLC51% LLC100% LLCFast solutionFree zone LLCThai ROHBranchRep officeThai PLC
Statutory corporate tax payable?20%20%20%20%0%10%20%0%20%
Legally tax exempt if properly structured?NoNoNoNoYesNoNoYesNo
Group HQ tax incentives?NoNoNoNoNoYesNoYesNo
Must file an annual tax return?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Must file annual financial statements?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Must appoint an auditor?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Access to double taxation treaties?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Withholding tax on payments to foreign shareholders?15%15%15%15%15%15%10%0%15%
Company registrationAmity Treaty LLC51% LLC100% LLCFast solutionFree zone LLCThai ROHBranchRep officeThai PLC
Resident director/manager/legal rep. required?NoNoNoNoNoNoYesYesYes
Minimum number of shareholders/partners?333333Parent companyParent company15
Maximum shareholding for non USA foreigners?49%49%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%
Maximum shareholding for USA foreigners?100%49%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%
Minimum statutory paid up share capital?US$60,000US$1US$57,000US$60,000US$62,000US$285,906US$87,285US$87,285US$622,000
Shelf companies available?NoYesYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Time to incorporate a new entity?2 weeks2 weeks2 weeks1 week2 weeks2 weeks3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
Can easily convert to a PLC?YesYesYesYesYesNoNoNo-
Public register of shareholders and directors?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Can have preference shareholders?YesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoYes
Business considerationsAmity Treaty LLC51% LLC100% LLCFast solutionFree zone LLCThai ROHBranchRep officeThai PLC
Good entity for trademark registration?YesYesYesYesNoYesYesNoYes
Can secure an import and export license?YesYesYesYesYesNoYesNoYes
Government grants available?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Can bid for Government contracts?YesYesYesYesYesNoYesNoYes
Can secure trade finance?YesYesYesYesYesNoYesNoYes
Can be wholly foreign owned?YesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Our Client needs to travel to Thailand for business set up?YesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo

Security deposit to be kept with Government?No
Sponsorship by a local citizen required?No
Temporary physical office solutions available?Yes
You need a local resident as bank signatory?No
The entity will likely be regulated by?DBD
Minimum number of directors/managers?1
Monthly VAT reporting to the Government?Yes
Government approval required for foreign owners?Yes
Must sign an office lease agreement during incorporation?No
Attestations required?No
Director’s personal tax number required?No
Foreign director needs a residence visa?No
Maximum number of staff allowed?Unlimited
Expatriate to local staff ratio?Yes, 4 to 1
Can secure residence visa for business owner?Yes
Other useful information
What will be included in my customer sales invoice?Click link
This country has signed free trade agreements?Yes
This country is a member of WIPO/TRIPS?Yes
This country is a member of the ICSID?Yes
Average custom duties suffered?8%
Government foreign investment approval required?Yes
Average monthly office rental? (US$ per sq m)US$25
Minimum statutory monthly salary?US$198
Average monthly US$ salary for local skilled employees?US$386
US$ deposit interest rate? (1 year average)1.4%
Overseas remittance currency controls?Limited
Banking considerations
Multi-currency bank accounts available?Yes
Corporate visa debit cards available?Yes
Quality of e-banking platform?Excellent
Crowd funding available in this country?Yes

Tell us what you need - we’ll send you a customised proposal in 5 hours!

  • Benefits and problems of registering a company in Thailand

    Benefits of registering a company in Thailand

      Thailand business registration facts

    1. It is possible to register a wholly foreign owned Thai limited liability company (LLC) with only i) three shareholders ii) one director and iii) a minimum capital of US$60,000 (THB2 million). The company formation procedures (click link for more details) can be completed without travel requirement for our Clients;
    2. Thailand is a large consumer market, thanks to i) a population of 68 million and ii) a GDP per capita of US$5,900. The country is ranked as the 22nd most attractive consumer market in the world by the World Economic Forum;
    3. Thailand is a good location for starting a manufacturing business because:
      • Salaries in the manufacturing industry are low, averaging only US$450 per month. Click on the weblink for further information on salary levels in Thailand;
      • Our Clients are able to sell their manufactured goods abroad with a good markup thanks to i) Thailand VAT exemption on all exports ii) custom duties exemption on all exports iii) low rental cost for industrial space at an average of US$12 per square meter per month;
      • Foreign investments in many sectors including i) electronic ii) chemical iii) paper iv) plastics and v) metal products will benefit from i) a corporation tax holiday of up to 8 years ii) exemption from import duties on machinery and raw materials iii) simplified customs procedures and iv) permission to own land;
      • Our Clients will find it easy to transport their goods because Thailand’s transportation network is considered the 4th best in South East Asia including rail, sea, road and air;
      • Our Clients who incorporate in Thailand’s 12 Free Trade Zones enjoy advantages including i) VAT exemption ii) no import/export duties iii) up to 8 years of tax holiday for promoted activities and iv) permission to own land;
      • The Customs Department can refund import duties on materials imported for the production of goods which are then exported. In addition, if a manufacturing firm exports its products, it is possible, with certain guarantees and fees, to procure import duty exemption on materials to be incorporated in products manufactured under bonded warehouse status;
      • Exporters may obtain financial assistance from commercial banks in the form of packing credits, by means of promissory notes discounted at the rate prescribed by the commercial bank;
      • For all the reasons above, Thailand is Southeast Asia’s largest manufacturer of i) automobiles ii) hard disk drives and iii) rubber products.

    4. Our Clients like to set up their regional headquarters in Thailand because:
      • A Thailand regional headquarters office enjoys a mere 10% corporation tax on income received from subsidiaries including royalties, interest, and intellectual property and management fees. Dividends received from international subsidiaries are free from Thailand corporate income tax;
      • An ROH (regional operating headquarters) i) is permitted to own land in the country ii) is free of any currency controls and overseas remittance restrictions and iii) is free to employ unlimited expatriate talent;
      • Thai office rental costs and local staff salaries are low.

    5. The Thailand authorities want to attract foreign investors by providing attractive tax incentives, including:
      • Corporate tax holidays can be granted by the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) to companies investing in designated industries including i) agro-industry ii) alternative energy iii) automotive and iv) electronics and ICT v) fashion vi) entertainment vii) healthcare and viii) tourism services;
      • A company may also claim a 200% rebate on R&D costs, and a 200% deduction for job training expenses and for expenditure on salary paid to disabled employees;
      • Import duty imposed on materials imported for the production of goods that are then exported can be refunded by the Customs Department. Furthermore, exemption from customs duties on imported goods is granted when the goods are taken through a Thailand special economic zone;
      • All Thailand businesses can carry forward their losses for up to 5 years.

    Problems with Thailand company registration

    1. Registering a wholly-foreign owned business in Thailand is challenging because:
      • Businesses with foreign shareholding exceeding 49% are required to secure a foreign business licence (FBL) before trading in most industries;
      • Securing a foreign business license takes an average of four months, due to challenging and cumbersome procedures requiring the approval of the Thailand Ministry of Commerce;
      • While issuance of a foreign business license can be issued significantly faster (up to one month) by the Thai Authorities for USA companies, the process requires the USA director to travel to Thailand for endorsement by the USA Embassy in Bangkok;
      • To secure the above foreign business license, foreign companies are required to have a minimum share capital equivalent to i) 9 months of planned expenditures or ii) US$60,000 whichever is higher. The actual amount required can be higher, depending on the exact business nature of our Clients’ businesses;
      • While a resident director is not required by law, administrative interactions with the Thai Government still require a director to visit and sign documentation in person, for instance to register a telephone line, activate water and electricity for office premises. If required, Healy Consultants Group PLC will provide a professional passive nominee resident director until our Client appoints its own local director;
      • Approximately 45 days following incorporation, officials from the Revenue Department will do a one-time inspection of the company premises;
      • Despite the fact that many of our Clients will need a local national director or shareholder to be appointed, article 36 of the Thailand Foreign Business Act, prohibits the use of Thai nominee shareholders and directors.

    2. Companies registered in Thailand suffer significant and increasing taxes because:
      • In Thailand, corporate income tax amounts to 20%, while capital gains can be taxed up to 35%. Consequently, the effective total tax rate for companies approximates 30%, including corporation tax and VAT;
      • A 10% branch remittance tax is imposed on after-tax profits repatriated to the overseas parent company;
      • Withholding taxes on payments to overseas parent companies suffer i) 10% on dividends ii) up to 15% on royalties and iii) up to 15% on interest even after the benefits of Thailand’s 56 double taxation treaties.

    3. Our Clients should also be aware that bidding for government contracts is currently risky because i) Thailand is currently ruled by an unelected military junta ii) the next government may void contracts awarded since the May 2014 coup;
    4. Our Clients find Thailand a corrupt place to conduct business because:
      • It is common for employees and competitors to counterfeit foreign company products. Thailand is indeed ranked as the 121st country in the world for intellectual property protection;
      • When running into contractual problems with i) suppliers ii) customers and iii) business partners, multinationals cannot rely on Thai courts. Like most emerging markets, the local judicial system favors its citizens;
      • To get business done, multinationals may unfortunately frequently have to bribe corrupt Government officials. About 10% of businesses have reported bribing Thai officials in 2016 and businessmen consider corruption and Government inefficiencies as the most problematic factors for Thailand-based businesses, just after political instability.

    5. HR management of a Thailand business can be challenging because:
      • The paid up share capital must be increased by U$56,500 for every foreign employee hired. The ratio is 2 Thai employees for every USA citizen employee and 4 Thai employees for every other nationality employee hired;
      • Our Clients can face labour shortages in Thailand, as the current unemployment rate is low (around 1%);
      • Foreign entrepreneurs may furthermore have trouble communicating with their employees, as only 30% of the population speaks English;
      • Firing a Thai employee is often an expensive decision. Severance pay represent on average 36 weeks of pay.

    6. Companies in Thailand suffer administrative Government red tape, including:
      • All outward fund remittances in foreign currencies must secure preliminary-approval from the bank after submission of an approval form and supporting information;
      • Multinationals can only import goods in Thailand for resale either retail or wholesale after i) the Thai subsidiary is granted permission by the Ministry of Commerce and ii) paid up share capital of at least US$3.3 million. There are no restrictions on the import of raw materials for manufacturing;
      • Thai translations must be provided when filing i) tax returns and ii) audited financial statements.

  • Best uses for a Thailand company

    • Thailand is a great place to register a manufacturing company, especially in the automobile sector thanks to a skilled yet affordable workforce, generous tax incentives, ASEAN membership and a vast network of suppliers and corporate customers;
    • Foreign multinationals trading customer products usually also register a local subsidiary in order to better target Thailand customers increase their share of this emerging market.

Frequently asked questions

Download the full Thailand country report here

Contact us

For additional information on our business registration services in Thailand, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi
Thailand securities and exchange commission The Thai chamber of commerce and board of trade of Thailand Thailand department of foreign trade - Ministry of Commerce Thailand department of business development - Ministry of Commerce Thailand board of investment