BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand is studying plans to toughen tax collection rules for internet and technology firms like Alphabet Inc’s Google, the head of the Revenue Department told Reuters, as these companies’ tax affairs come under greater scrutiny in Southeast Asia.
The plans would also cover the mobile transfers and internet payment sector, said Prasong Poontaneat, director general of Thailand’s Revenue Department.
Thailand is focused on changing existing regulations, Prasong said, unlike Indonesia, where the government is seeking back taxes from Google.
He said a working committee had been set up to find solutions on tax collection for companies such as Google and other technology firms.
“We are studying this issue and have set up a committee to look into this over the past two months,” Prasong told Reuters.
“The idea is to seek appropriate solutions for Thailand and it could involve an amendment in some regulations because current laws are outdated and have been used for more than 50 years,” said Prasong, adding that he expects the committee to come up with solutions by the end of this year.
Reuters telephoned and e-mailed Google Thailand for comment, but there was no immediate reply.
Indonesia is pursuing Alphabet Inc’s Google for five years of back taxes, and the search giant could face a bill of more than $400 million for 2015 alone if it is found to have avoided payments, a senior tax official told Reuters last week.
“Thailand’s problems and Indonesia’s problems are different,” Prasong told Reuters. “Right now it is up to the working committee to come up with a Thai solution.”
(Reporting by Manunphattr Dhanananphorn; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)