BANGKOK – Director-General Kulit Sombatsiri of the Thai Customs Department is requiring senior officials responsible for tax collection to declare their assets to the Finance Ministry in a bid to increase transparency.
Targeted officials must declare their assets when their positions change, the Director-General said.
He said the requirement relies on the director-general’s mandate and has nothing to do with the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s law, which stipulates that high-ranking state officials and ministers declare their assets and liabilities when they receive a promotion or change positions.
Under Mr Kulit’s leadership, the Customs Department has pushed efforts to improve transparency and stem loopholes used for tax avoidance. It has revamped the inspection process in discharging goods and carrying out tax evaluations, shifting from an individual model to a team-based one.
Discharging goods that are purchased online and shipped through postal services is one example, he said. Many senders understate the value of their parcels, making sure they are below 1,500 baht to take advantage of a tax exemption.
To close the loophole, the Customs Department will arrange a list of importers that will face tougher inspections, in addition to adopting the team-based examination model, said Mr Kulit.
Moreover, the tax-collecting agency will adopt more electronic systems.
In related news, Mr Kulit said the department has invited 600 representatives from the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Bankers’ Association for a meeting today on the new customs law on importing, duty refunds and free-tax zones, which will come into force on Nov 13.
The meeting is aimed at getting feedback from the private sector on which processes could benefit form using IT systems and which ones could face bottlenecks, he said.
Mr Kulit recently said he expects the new law to ease trade as the amended regulations include setting the cross-border cargo examination process at a maximum of 30 days.
The current law has no cap on the maximum inspection period, leading to some cargo being left idle for extended periods of time.