Those seeking information about going into business in Thailand can be confused and frustrated by the seemingly contradictory information on the subject. This brief article is meant to act as a primer for those thinking of starting a Thai company as well as living and working in the Kingdom of Thailand.
There are a lot of critical matters that are involved in maintaining an expatriate life in Thailand. A Thailand visa as well as a Thailand work permit are two critical concerns for those wishing to remain n the Kingdom of Thailand on a long term basis. Regrettably, visas and work permits that are promulgated by employers can be taken back should the employment be terminated. This could be a major issue for people who would like to seek out different employment in Thailand. When Thai Immigration issues a Thai visa extension based upon the existence of a Thai work permit, then the visa will expire 7 days after the work permit is canceled, regardless of the remaining validity of the visa. Therefore, if a visa and work permit are “tied together,” and one’s employment comes to an abrupt end, then the loss of employment could mean being forced to leave the country (for a length of time long enough to secure another visa).
This is why a Thai Company can be a boon to foreigners staying in the Kingdom of Thailand. A foreigner in control of a Thai limited company can essentially control his or her Thai visa and work permit. In a way, the foreigner is self employed. This is a particularly popular method of maintaining lawful status in the Kingdom for those who work in the service industry. For example, a computer programmer working in Thailand could set up a Thai company and have other employers utilize his services as a subcontractor. The employer would pay the company and the company would pay him a salary. Significantly, if this employment comes to an end, then the programmer would not automatically lose his or her work permit and long term visa status, but would simply lose the incoming revenue. As a result, that person could go search for employment elsewhere while still maintaining a valid work permit and visa.
Taxes can be an issue if this type of endeavor is undertaken as the taxes of a company must be kept up to date on a yearly basis. Further, in the case of the Thai Value Added Tax, it may be wise to be certain that these taxes are paid on a monthly basis. There are also employee requirements in order for a visa extension to be issued, but a work permit could be maintained without meeting this requirement if the foreigner maintains a long term multiple entry Thai visa. Although, obtaining advice from a professional in the legal field might be beneficial before following through with this course of action.