TAT plans for tax deduction on travel expenses

The sunrise in Wang Nuea district in Lampang. (Assawin Wongnorkaew)

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has proposed a tax deduction for travel expenses to encourage people to travel and help boost the rural economy.

TAT governor Yutthasak Supasorn said the proposal has been presented for consideration by the Finance Ministry. The ministry will have the final say on details like which provinces the tax deduction will apply to, the amount of tax deduction and various other measures aimed at distributing income to local communities.

He expects the Finance Ministry to table the proposal for cabinet approval next week or before New Year at the latest.

Under the TAT’s initial proposal, the tax incentives for travellers would allow each individual taxpayer to deduct the value of travel expenses worth up to 15,000 baht from personal income taxes.

The tax incentives will apply to secondary provinces which are less popular than major tourist spots.

This means these destinations have no more than an average of four million tourists — both foreigners and Thais — annually, Mr Yutthasak said. He added that there are currently about 61 such provinces.

He also said that the Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat has recommended the use of basic minimum need (BMN) indicators, which measure the minimum standard of quality of life, for screening provinces to be covered by the tax incentive programme.

Mr Yutthasak added that the TAT is ready to cooperate if the Finance Ministry wants the agency to examine tour packages offered by accredited tourism operators in order to ensure that tourism income will be distributed to local communities.

He said the Finance Ministry is keen to allow homestay service operators to take part in the tax deduction measure.