First-car rebates expected to pass 600,000 by year-end

Economy November 28, 2012 00:00

By SUPHANNEE POOTPISUT
THE NATIO

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The Excise Department yesterday revealed that registrations for tax refunds under the first-car rebate scheme exceeded 581,000 valued at about Bt43 billion.



“We expect the total number of applications to the first-car scheme will exceed 600,000 by the time the project ends, so more than the 500,000 units targeted earlier by the department,” said Excise Department director-general Somchai Poonsawat. The programme ends on December 31.

“Although the number of car buyers eligible for tax rebates will exceed our target, we will not limit the amount of money to be refunded to them, which is in line with the government’s policy. As the first car-scheme will expire at the end of this year, I have relayed the policy to all staff of the Excise Department to facilitate anyone asking for the tax refund,” he said.

It had been expected that if the 500,000-unit target were reached, the tax-refund budget would be about Bt32 billion, he said.

The scheme was established for first-time car buyers purchasing vehicles manufactured in Thailand, with engines no larger than 1,500cc and costing no more than Bt1 million. Purchasers have to retain ownership of the vehicles for at least five years, and the maximum tax refund per vehicle is Bt100,000, for cars purchased between September 16, 2011, and December 31 this year.

The first-car scheme has given a big boost to the automotive sector, which suffered severely from last year’s flood disaster, with some auto plants disrupted and output cut. Vehicle sales last month rose sharply by 233.2 per cent from October last year.

According to data compiled by Toyota Motor Thailand, passenger cars accounted for 72,211 units, up 263.7 per cent, while commercial vehicles including 1-tonne pickups stood at 70,628 units, up 206.8 per cent.

In the first 10 months, vehicle sales topped 1.14 million units, up 60.2 per cent year on year. The passenger-car segment grew by 62.6 per cent, and the commercial-vehicle segment by 58.2 per cent.

Toyota expects continued overall sales growth this month, due to a huge backlog and the launch of new models. Auto-makers have also increased production capacity.

Somchai said the first-car scheme would result in higher excise-tax revenue on cars, at more than Bt110 billion, or 84 per cent higher than target. Tax collection reached Bt28 billion in just the first two months of the year, which was 46 per cent higher than forecast.

He said the Excise Department targeted total tax collection of Bt412 billion for the fiscal year 2013.