Thailand free zones

Thailand free zones

Thailand provides several free zones, locally known as “special economic zones”, enabling foreigners to register companies in the country, while enjoying simpler registration procedures, full foreign ownership and generous tax incentives. Please find more information on this page regarding registration of a Thailand business in these special economic zones.

Advantages of registering a company in a Thailand special economic zone

  1. Free Zone company formation allows our Client to benefit from the following tax advantages:
      Thailand free trade zones company registration

    • Most of our Clients interested to register a company in a Thailand Special Economic Zone also request us to submit an application to secure BOI promotion status (click link). After review of their investment project by the Board of Investments, such investment projects can benefit from tax incentives including i) up to eight years of corporate tax holidays and ii) reduced or waived custom duties on imports of raw material and equipment;
    • If the company secures BOI promotion status, the company can then secure additional tax benefits including: i) up to three additional years of corporate tax exemption and/or ii) reduced corporate tax rate of 10% during the following eight years;
    • If the company does not secure BOI promotion status, the special economic zone authority can decide to grant some or all of the tax benefits that such status would have granted, provided that the activities of the company i) are deemed of economic interest by the free zone authority and ii) matches with the targeted industries of the free zone (click link for a list).

  2. Our Client registering a company in a Thailand special economic zone will also benefit from simpler registration procedures because:
    • Companies registered in a Thailand free zone can be wholly foreign-owned without the requirement to secure a foreign business license, allowing to minimize costs and timelines required to complete the engagement;
    • Most special economic zones also provide a one stop shop allowing to register the company, secure all necessary licenses and permits required to operate;
    • Last but not least, free zone companies can sponsor skilled foreign workers for employment permits through a fast track procedure.

Requirements to form a free zone company in Thailand

  • There are currently ten special economic zones located in the following cities/districts: i) Tak ii) Sa Kaew iii) Trat iv) Mukdahan v) Songkhla vi) Nong Khai vii) Narathiwat viii) Chiang Rai ix) Nakhon Phanom and x) Kanchanaburi. These SEZ are all located in border towns at the Malaysian, Cambodian, Laos and Myanmar borders, with good road and sea connectivity to China and G3 markets;
  • Each of these SEZs prioritizes some “target industries” and will review on a case by case investment projects by foreigners. As a rule of thumb, foreigners willing to register their company with one of these free zones will be required to i) pay up a capital of at least US$62,000 ii) secure a lease agreement for manufacturing or warehousing space within the free zone and iii) demonstrate their activities are export oriented and/or will generate technology transfers;
  • Because of the above, Healy Consultants’ preferred approach for this type of project is to prepare a high quality business plan to determine with the SEZ authority and multiple lawyers whether SEZ registration will be feasible for our Client’s projects. To proceed with the same, our Firm requests settlement of a retainer fee, thereafter offset from total engagement costs after we confirm the optimal SEZ for registration of our Client’s company.

Table of Comparison between most popular Thailand free zones

 Nong KhaiKanchanaburiTak SEZSa Kaew
Special Economic Zone used mostly by which industry?Agriculture and textileAutomobileF&BLight Industry
Average annual Industrial space rent per 1000 sq. m.US$50,000US$77,000US$60,000US$62,000
VAT standard rate?0%0%0%0%
Corporate tax standard rate?0%0%0%0%
How long to set the company up?10 weeks10 weeks10 weeks10 weeks
How long to open company bank account?4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks
Quality of Utilities?Very GoodGoodGoodVery good
Allowed to sign sales contracts with Thai Clients?NoNoNoNo
Allowed to invoice Thai Clients?NoNoNoNo
Thai bank signatory requiredNoNoNoNo
Corporate bank account?Kasikorn BankSCBSCBKasikorn Bank
Physical office space required?YesYesYesYes
Allowed to import raw materials?YesYesYesYes
Allowed to export goods?YesYesYesYes
Can be wholly foreign owned?YesYesYesYes
Can the entity hire expatriate staff in Thailand?YesYesYesYes
Minimum number of directors?1111
Minimum number of shareholders?3333
Tax Identification Number required?YesYesYesYes
Individual shareholders allowed?YesYesYesYes
Corporate shareholders allowed?YesYesYesYes
Corporate director(s) allowed?YesYesYesYes
Annual audited financial statements?YesYesYesYes

Frequently asked questions

Contact us

For additional information on our free zones 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