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Revenue Dept Urged To Reconsider Tax Break On Massages

Bangkok, Fri Nov 10 2017
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The Revenue Department has been urged to remove massage parlours from the list of goods and services qualified for a year-end tax break.

National Legislative Assembly member Wallop Tangkananurak on Thursday called on the department to review the benefits of having massage parlours on the list.

Mr Wallop, a child advocate, said including the service was immoral and the government would become a target for criticism, Spring News reported.

The shopping tax break from Saturday to Dec 3 aims to boost consumption and local businesses by encouraging people to spend. Taxpayers may deduct from their taxable incomes up to 15,000 baht of the value of goods and services they bought during the period.

Eligible goods and services are those subjected to 7% value-added tax - basically everything except farm products, meat and animal by-products, fertilisers, animal feed, newspapers, magazines, textbooks, tuition fees, medical fees and others. By this criterion, massage parlours and karaoke bars qualify.

The service made headlines in the media, including on the online community forum pantip.com.

“Don't let the ‘person at home’ see the receipt issued by a massage parlour or the tax break you'd get could be lower than your medical bill!” one commentator wrote, warning of a potential family row if a husband insists on taking advantage of the scheme.

Former senator Rabeabrat Pongpanich, a social critic on family affairs, told Amarin TV that she opposed having massage parlours on the shopping list as it could lead to family conflicts between husbands and wives.

The shopping campaign was approved by the cabinet on Tuesday.

Patricia Mongkhonvanit, the deputy director-general and acting spokeswoman for the department, confirmed on Wednesday that massage parlours and karaoke shops were among the services sector to benefit from the measures.

Apart from VAT, other eligibility criteria are that the products or services must be completed or fulfilled before the programme ends on Dec 3. As a result, gift cards bought from department stores, gym membership fees or air tickets with departure dates after Dec 3 generally do not qualify.

Buyers must also ask vendors for full receipts with the buyer's name, address and ID number which could lead to some red faces depending on who might be inspecting your tax receipts and the type of massage venue you like to visit!

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