BANGKOK: Nightlife in Thailand is set be costlier under the latest changes to the countrys tax structure.
Prime Minister Taksin Shinawatras government has imposed a maximum 20% excise on the places of sleaze and sin massage parlours, nightclubs and karaoke lounges. Spas, cinemas, race courses, golf courses and lotteries would also come under the same tax code.
As for booze, the tax on locally produced spirits and rice wine was slashed but the rates for whisky, brandy and imported spirits were raised.
The excise tax on local fermented wine would be cut to Bt70 (about RM7) per litre from Bt100 (about RM700), while the tax on white spirits with 28% alcohol would be reduced from Bt17.50 (RM1.75) per bottle to Bt12 (RM1.20).
The move is to help community-based producers in line with the governments policy to boost the rural economy, said Deputy Prime Minister Prommin Lertsuridej.
To make up for the lower revenues from local distillers, the government raised the tax on brandy from Bt190 (RM19) per litre to Bt240 (RM24) from 30% to 35% while the tax on whisky has increased from 45% to 50%.
The government also imposed new taxes on telecommunication companies, both fixed line and mobile operators, ending a long-standing dispute over the conversion of telecommunication concession contracts.
All telecommunication services under state concessions would now have to pay a 50% maximum tax rate.
Companies which sign contracts in the future would also have to pay the same rate.
Critics, notably, the Opposition Democrat Party, slammed the new taxes by saying that they would only benefit the current operators.
Stocks of these companies rose on the news of the tax rates yesterday.