The Nation



Up to Election Commission to keep low diesel tax rate, Excise Dept says

Excise Department is awaiting a decision by the Election Commission on extending a measure to keep the diesel excise at half a satang per litre.

The measure is due to expire this month and the department wants to extend it into the new year, but as Parliament has been dissolved and the Kingdom is currently under a caretaker government, decisions on revenue are the responsibility of the EC, said Excise Department director-general Somchai Poonsawat.

The department has proposed an extension to help alleviate the rising cost of living. This measure is not new, but has been in place during the last two governments. However, if the diesel-excise reduction is not extended, it will revert to the original rate of Bt10 per litre, Somchai said.

Excise collection in October and November, the first two months of the 2014 fiscal year, amounted to Bt71.6 billion, higher than target by Bt959.5 million. Beer excise contributed the most, at Bt15.6 billion, exceeding the target by Bt3.3 billion. Liquor tax was Bt10.4 billion, higher than target by Bt5.18 billion.

Tax revenue from oil sales was Bt10 billion, lower than the projection by Bt436.26 million, while that from vehicles was 10.75 billion, Bt5.76 billion below target. Tobacco taxes totalled Bt9.28 billion, lower than target by Bt1.15 billion.

Somchai said fuel taxes were a vital revenue earner for the Excise Department, but even if the diesel-excise reduction is extended, the department would still attain its Bt460-billion revenue target for the first quarter of fiscal year 2014.

The department's officials have been efficient in their revenue collection and strictly enforced measures to curb tax evasion, he said.

Smugglers under watch

The upcoming New Year celebration should boost consumption of liquor. The Excise Department will be busy watching for smuggling of illegal liquor and other goods at the borders during this period.

So far this quarter, the department has recorded around 9,800 violations, punishable by Bt119 million in fines. These comprised 5,350 violations of the Liquor Act of 1950 involving 48 billion litres of liquor, punishable by Bt22.21 million in fines; 3,700 violations of the Tobacco Act of 1996, involving 3.18 million cigarettes, punishable by Bt84.13 million in fines; and 768 violations of the Excise Tax Act of 1984, involving 310,000 litres of oil and related products and eight motorcycles.

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