Will You Be Impacted by Thailand’s Revised Tax Code?

Disclaimer: This post was not written by a tax professional and none of the following content is legal advice. Thailand’s revised tax code is an evolving/developing situation, and new information is still coming forward, so details in this article are liable to change. Please contact a tax professional when making financial decisions.

The mere thought of paying more tax is enough to quicken your breath. That’s why when Thailand announced its revised tax code late last year, expats voiced their concerns. If you’ve heard of the change, you likely have many questions. Will you be impacted by the tax? How much will you have to pay? Are there any ways you can be exempt? 

I’m here to tell you that the revised code isn’t as bad as it seems. You have options to reduce your tax burden or eliminate it altogether—regardless of whether you’re a retiree, digital nomad, or working professional. We’ll cover those options in this article. But first, let’s get clear on some of the basics: what’s changed, who will be taxed, and how much you may pay.

Thailand’s revised tax code: What has changed?


The change to Thailand’s tax code is simpler than most expats realize. Only one thing has changed: a law that was established close to 40 years ago in 1987. This law stipulated that you were exempt from paying tax on foreign-sourced income if it was remitted to Thailand a different year than it was earned. That means if you earned $30,000 in rental income from a New York property in 2018 and transferred it to your Thai bank account in 2019, that income was tax-exempt.

The revised rule says that any foreign-sourced income (savings or earnings) remitted to Thailand after Jan 1, 2024 is taxable—subject to some considerations outlined in this article. It’s important to note that the law only applies to money brought into Thailand. Money earned abroad and kept outside of the Kingdom isn’t taxed here. What’s more, any of your savings or earnings from 2023 or earlier is exempt. 

What this means is, if in 2023 you made $80,000 in consulting work from clients abroad and had $20,000 in savings, you can remit that money to Thailand today tax-free. But if you earn any amount from those same clients this year, that income could be subject to tax upon remittance to Thailand, depending on some factors mentioned later in this article.

Thailand now has more access to your financial activity abroad

Though technically not a law, there’s been one other notable change involving the Thai Revenue Department and taxes. In 2023, Thailand adopted the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). If you’re unfamiliar with the CRS, it allows your financial information from abroad to be reported to the Thai Revenue Department. Shared information includes financial account details, bank balances, deposit details, proceeds from the sale of financial assets, dividends and interest earned, etc. 

You can probably guess the purpose of the CRS. It’s to improve transparency and cut down on tax evasion. The CRS is not something Thailand invented. It’s commonly implemented by western nations, including the UK, Canada, and all EU countries.

Is the revised tax law targeted at expats? 

There are many expats upset about the revised tax code, believing the Thai government is searching for another way to take their money. However, this is highly unlikely. It’s been widely reported that the law is intended for wealthy Thais who’ve earned money abroad—in stock markets, bonds, property, and other assets—and used the loophole of remitting it in a different year to avoid paying tax. Though expats will be affected by this law, its enactment isn’t personal. 

What’s more, most developed countries have similar tax laws, so it’s not an unheard of policy shift. Depending on your situation in Thailand, how it impacts you could vary dramatically. Let’s examine that, starting with the very basics of who is taxed.  

Criteria for being taxed


Whether or not you pay Thailand’s tax generally comes down to three factors: 

  • You are a tax resident: To be taxed under the revised law, you must be considered a tax resident. A tax resident is defined by one key criteria: the amount of days you spend in Thailand per calendar year. If you live in Thailand 180 days or more per calendar year, then you’re considered a tax resident and may be required to pay taxes on your foreign sourced income and savings.
  • You bring money into Thailand: As mentioned earlier, you’re only taxed on foreign-sourced income/savings if you bring it into Thailand. If you keep money in your savings or investment accounts abroad, it’s not taxable. This is an important point to keep in mind because it potentially creates an opportunity to control your tax burden, which I’ll discuss more later in this article. 
  • Your income is over 120,000 THB ($3,400) per year: While most expats reading this article will remit more than 120,000 THB per year, it’s worth noting that you won’t be taxed if you’re under this limit. Thailand has a progressive tax system, meaning the more you bring in, the higher the rate that will be applied to those remittances. More on this later. 

Which income is taxable? Considerations for retirees, digital nomads, and other expats


Understanding which income is taxable under the revised law can be summed up under a few blanket points: 

  • All income is taxable (with a few exceptions): All income or savings remitted into Thailand is taxable, unless otherwise stated in a double tax agreement (DTA) or specifically excluded by the Thai Revenue Department. We’ll cover both these exclusions in more detail soon. 
  • You’ll typically pay tax once: You’re unlikely to pay tax on foreign-sourced income previously taxed in your home country. So if you paid tax on some freelance work from a foreign client back home, you likely won’t have to pay taxes on that income again in Thailand. 

To give these rules more context, here’s how they may apply to specific expat groups in Thailand:


Upon the revised law’s announcement, retirees were understandably concerned about their pensions being taxed. So, will they? It depends on the factors mentioned earlier: your country’s DTA with Thailand and whether your pension was already taxed in your home country. I want to stress this again—if your pension was taxed at home, it’s unlikely to be taxed again in Thailand. Now, what about Social Security for Americans? Here’s some good news. Social security payments to Americans are always tax-exempt in Thailand, regardless of whether you bring the income into the Kingdom. 

Digital nomads & freelancers

Generally speaking, digital nomads and freelancers will have to pay tax on foreign-sourced income, unless it’s covered under a DTA or you’ve already paid tax on it in your home country. This applies even for nomads granted a visa through the Privilege program (assuming you stay in Thailand for more than 180 days). Any freelance income earned locally is, and always has been, taxable under Thailand’s law. 

Working professionals in Thailand

If you’re working as an employee for a company based in Thailand, your Thai taxes are deducted from your paycheck. In the instance where you may also be earning freelance income from clients abroad or bring money into Thailand earned from overseas investments, then the same rules above apply. You must pay tax on that income unless you’ve already paid tax on it abroad or it’s covered under your home country’s DTA. 

Other types of taxable income

Outside what’s already been mentioned, below are three more types of income that expats have been concerned about. All three are taxable under the revised tax code, unless they’ve been exempt with a DTA or taxed in the country of earnings:

  • Investment income
  • Property rental income
  • Sales of overseas property 

How much tax will you pay?


Now that you understand the amended tax code, you may be wondering how much you’ll pay. The tax bracket below outlines how much you’ll owe based on your income. 

Income Range Tax Rate
0 – 120,000 THB ($3,400) Exempt
120,000 – 300,000 ($3,400 - $8,500) 5%
300,000 – 500,000 ($8,500 - $14,200) 10%
500,000 – 750,000 ($14,200 - $21,400) 15%
750,000 – 1,000,000 ($21,400 - $28,500) 20%
1,000,000 – 2,000,000 ($28,500 - $57,100) 25%
2,000,000 – 4,000,000 ($57,100 - $114,200) 30%
Over 4,000,000 ($114,200) 35%

5 ways to be exempt from the revised tax law

If you’re concerned you may be impacted by the amended tax law after reading this far, know that you have options. There are ways you can be completely (or partially) exempt from Thailand’s revised tax code. Here are six: 

  1. Stay in thailand less than 180 days a year

While this one may sound a bit obvious, you can easily avoid paying tax if you only winter in Thailand or spend a little more than half the year somewhere nearby. If you’re here for the culture and tropical environment, you have a lot of great options just a stone’s throw away, from the beautiful beaches of Indonesia and Malaysia to the charming French-influenced cities in Laos and Vietnam. None of Thailand’s visas require a minimum stay and even Permanent Residency (PR) only requires that you spend one day per calendar year in the Kingdom to maintain PR status.

  1. Get a Long Term Resident (LTR) visa

And speaking of visas, there is one type that automatically exempts you from Thailand’s revised tax code: the Board of Investment’s Long Term Resident (LTR) visa. If you obtain this visa, you do not need to pay tax on foreign-sourced income under any circumstances, even if you regularly remit rental or investment income, or a pension to Thailand. It has been deemed tax exempt by royal decree. You can learn more about the LTR visa here or contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options for obtaining one. 

  1. Learn about your country’s Double Tax Agreement (DTA)

A Double Tax Agreement (DTA) is a treaty between two countries that basically decides who gets to tax what income. The purpose is to help citizens avoid being taxed twice on the same funds. So if your home country has a DTA with Thailand, you may be able to avoid paying any taxes associated with this revised law (or receive a tax credit). Thailand has DTAs with 61 countries. Assuming your home country has one with Thailand, you can view a copy of it here or talk with a tax professional to learn how it will impact you.

Note, some DTAs are currently being renegotiated. 

  1. Use an international credit card to pay bills in Thailand

Remember what I mentioned earlier—income or savings is only taxable if you bring it into Thailand. So how could you live here while not bringing money in? One way is by using an international credit card, and then paying that card through an account outside of Thailand. Bear in mind, the tax code is still evolving, so using an international credit card in Thailand may still count as taxable income at some point. We recommend talking with a tax professional if you intend to use this strategy.

  1. Gift money to your spouse

While this strategy is unlikely to completely eliminate your tax burden, it can significantly reduce it. In Thailand, you’re allowed to gift up to 20 million THB ($571,400) to your spouse tax free. That means if you’re close to moving into a higher tax bracket, you could gift money to your spouse to avoid it. Let me give you an example. 

Say you and your spouse are freelancers with all clients based abroad. If you’re earning $60,000 a year and your spouse is making $80,000, you could “gift” $3,000 to them so you stay within the 25% tax bracket. With the extra $3,000, your spouse will still be well within the same 30% tax bracket. You’ve reduced your tax burden and kept your spouse’s virtually the same. 

Example tax brackets of you and your spouse

1,000,000 – 2,000,000 ($28,500 - $57,100) 25%
2,000,000 – 4,000,000 ($57,100 - $114,200) 30%

Move forward with confidence

When you don’t understand something, it’s easy to be afraid of it. By now, I hope you have a clearer idea of what Thailand’s revised tax code is about and how you may be impacted. As new details are still emerging, we highly recommend engaging a good accountant to help you lawfully minimize your tax burden. You’ll feel much more confident when you have an expert helping you navigate tax laws in both Thailand and your home country. And speaking of experts….

If you’re looking to be exempt from this amended code with an LTR visa, we’re here to help. We at Baan Thai are one of Bangkok’s few law firms that specializes in immigration to Thailand. We can help you discover your best long-stay option and whether you qualify for an LTR visa. Contact us today to learn more. 


Mark Friedman

Managing Director of Baan Thai
Mark is a member of the California Bar and a 1987 graduate with honors from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.


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