Significant Changes in Thai Personal Income Tax for Foreign-Sourced Income: Implications for Individuals and Accounting Firms

The Thai Department of Revenue has issued Departmental Instruction No. Paw 161/2566, which introduces substantial changes to the taxation of personal income derived from foreign sources. Effective from January 1, 2024, this new tax regulation has far-reaching implications for Thai taxpayers earning income from overseas employment, business, or property, as well as for accounting firms managing such income.

Key Changes in Tax Treatment

Under the new rules, Thai taxpayers must pay tax on any foreign-sourced income once it is brought into Thailand, regardless of when it enters the country. This marks a significant shift from the previous regulation, where foreign-source income was taxable only if it was brought into Thailand within the same calendar year it was earned. Instruction No. Paw 161/2566 effectively closes this loophole, requiring taxpayers to declare and pay taxes on foreign income in the year it is earned, irrespective of the year it is brought into Thailand.

Scope of the New Tax Rule

The revised regulation applies to all taxpayers residing in Thailand for 180 days or more within a tax calendar year. These individuals are obligated to pay tax on their global income, which includes:

- Income from employment (wages, salaries, remuneration, etc.) as per Section 40 of the Revenue Code.

- Income from business operations.

- Passive income such as interest, dividends, rental income, and goodwill under Article 41, paragraph 2 of the Revenue Code.

Progressive Tax Rates

The new tax regime establishes the following progressive tax rates for annual income:

- 0 to 150,000 baht (approximately US$4,177) – Exempt

- 150,001 to 300,000 baht (US$4,177 to US$8,354) – 5%

- 300,001 to 500,000 baht (US$8,354 to US$13,923) – 10%

- 500,001 to 750,000 baht (US$13,923 to US$20,884) – 15%

- 750,001 to 1,000,000 baht (US$20,884 to US$27,846) – 20%

- 1,000,001 to 2,000,000 baht (US$27,846 to US$55,683) – 25%

- 2,000,001 to 5,000,000 baht (US$55,683 to US$139,201) – 30%

- Over 5,000,000 baht (US$139,201) – 35%

Implications for Taxpayers

Individuals with Foreign-Sourced Income

The updated tax instruction has significant implications for individuals with foreign-sourced income. For instance, if a Thai resident earns income from selling shares in a foreign company and brings the proceeds into Thailand in 2024, they must declare this as assessable income and pay the corresponding tax for the 2024 tax year. This change affects tax planning strategies for individuals with offshore investments and assets.

Consider the following scenarios:

  1. A Thai resident working abroad: If a Thai tax resident works overseas and brings their earnings into Thailand in a different year, they will now be taxed in the year the income is earned, not when it is brought into Thailand.
  2. Expatriates in Thailand: Expats living in Thailand must carefully consider the timing of remitting foreign pensions or other income to avoid unexpected tax liabilities.

Concerns and Clarifications

Several stakeholders, including small to medium investors and expatriates, have raised concerns about the new tax treatment. One issue is the perceived unfairness of taxing foreign capital gains while domestic gains remain tax-exempt. Additionally, expatriates are worried about the clarity of tax conditions on foreign income, such as pensions.

A critical point needing clarification is whether using earnings kept in overseas accounts via e-banking or debit cards constitutes remitting income into Thailand, thereby making it taxable.

Future Developments

The Thai Revenue Department plans to gather feedback from affected stakeholders and issue more detailed guidelines to clarify these new rules. Additionally, amendments to personal income tax return forms are anticipated to facilitate claiming foreign tax credits, thus preventing double taxation.

Implications for Accounting Firms

Increased Compliance Burden

Accounting firms will face an increased compliance burden due to the new tax regulations. They will need to assist their clients in navigating the complexities of the new rules, ensuring that all foreign-sourced income is accurately reported and taxed in the appropriate year. This will likely require additional resources and training for staff to stay up-to-date with the latest regulations.

Enhanced Advisory Services

With the introduction of the new tax treatment, accounting firms will need to enhance their advisory services. They will need to provide clients with detailed guidance on how to manage their foreign income, including the timing of bringing such income into Thailand to minimize tax liabilities. This will involve a thorough understanding of international tax laws and the implications of double taxation agreements.

Technological Integration

Accounting firms may also need to invest in new technologies and software to manage the increased complexity of tax reporting. Automated systems that can track and report foreign-sourced income in real-time will be crucial in ensuring compliance and reducing the risk of errors. This technological integration will be vital for maintaining efficiency and accuracy in tax reporting.

Impacts on Personal Accounting

Comprehensive Financial Planning

Individuals will need to engage in more comprehensive financial planning to manage their tax liabilities effectively. This will involve working closely with personal accountants to ensure that all sources of income are reported accurately and in a timely manner. Personal accountants will play a crucial role in advising clients on the best strategies to minimize their tax burdens under the new regulations.

Increased Record-Keeping Requirements

The new tax treatment will necessitate increased record-keeping requirements for individuals. They will need to maintain detailed records of all foreign-sourced income and the dates it is brought into Thailand. This will help ensure that they are fully compliant with the new regulations and can provide the necessary documentation during tax audits.

Tax Planning Strategies

Personal accountants will need to develop sophisticated tax planning strategies to help clients navigate the new rules. This may include advising clients on the timing of bringing foreign income into Thailand, exploring tax-efficient investment options, and utilizing double taxation agreements to minimize overall tax liabilities.


The introduction of Departmental Instruction No. Paw 161/2566 represents a substantial change in how foreign-sourced income is taxed in Thailand. Both individuals and accounting firms must understand these changes and adjust their financial planning and reporting practices accordingly. Consulting with qualified tax professionals is crucial to ensure compliance and optimize tax obligations under the new regulations. Staying informed and seeking expert guidance are essential steps in effectively managing financial responsibilities, both domestically and internationally.