An aerial view of a flooded village is seen in the Chaiya district of Thailand's southern province of Surat Thani on Tuesday.  / AFP PHOTO / LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA
An aerial view of a flooded village is seen in the Chaiya district of Thailand's southern province of Surat Thani on Tuesday. / AFP PHOTO / LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA

Cabinet nod for tax measures to relieve burden on flood victims

Economy January 11, 2017 01:00


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THE CABINET yesterday gave the green light for tax measures to relieve flood victims in the South, allowing donations for them to be made tax-deductible and extending tax-filing deadlines for those affected by the flooding.

Nattaporn Jatusripitak, an adviser to the commerce minister, said after the Cabinet meeting that under the first of the approved measures, individuals, companies or juristic partnerships that donate money or assets to flood victims in the South between January 1 and March 31 could use the donated amount as a deductible expense in calculating their income taxes. 

 The measure is in addition to the normal tax deduction for donations, with stands at 50 per cent of the donated sum or asset value, he said.

 As to the extension of tax-filing deadlines for the flood victims, their filings for withholding tax, value added tax, specific business tax and stamp duties – usually due this month or next – will not now need to be filed with the authorities until the end of March.

 In a related matter, the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) has recently ordered its offices in Surat Thani and Songkhla to closely monitor the flood situation in 12 provinces in the South and coordinate with related parties and insurance companies to evaluate the damage, OIC secretary-general Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn said yesterday.

From a preliminary evaluation by insurance companies, 501 insured vehicles had been damaged in the flooding, at a cost of Bt79.75 million, he said, adding that the insurers were now evaluating 40,296 rai (6,450 hectares) of flood-hit paddy fields.

The SME Development Bank has assigned its executives to join with the Industry Ministry in regard to surveying the affected areas. 

The bank has also launched two measures to ease the burden on flood-affected customers, one being a debt moratorium for six months, and the other being the provision of emergency loans of up to Bt500,000 per person – with a five-year term and one-year grace period for principal repayment. 

The interest rate charged will not exceed the minimum lending rate throughout the loan term. 

The Commerce Ministry, meanwhile, has joined forces with private enterprises, including rice producers, food, construction-material and consumer-goods firms, with a view to providing free rice and drinking water and ensuring an adequate supply of essential goods to flood victims in the South.

The ministry’s permanent secretary, Wiboonlasana Ruamraksa, said yesterday that the first lot of ready-to-eat rice, other food and “survival bags” should reach people in the South by next Monday. 

Moreover, after the floodwater subsides, the ministry will work with trade associations to provide support in terms of rehabilitating businesses in the South, she said. 

Builders’ merchants, for example, will give discounts to people and businesses in flood-affected areas.

In addition, in order to stringently control goods prices during the crisis, the ministry has dispatched teams to inspect prices and check for the hoarding of goods in the southern provinces, the official said, adding that it had found nothing detrimental so far.

However, the ministry warned that any retailers found to be overcharging or hoarding goods could be subject to punishment under the goods and services prices law.

The government added that 1,500 tonnes of rice – sufficient to produce 750,000 2-kilogram rice packs – should soon be ready for donation to those affected in the South. 

 The Agriculture Ministry reported that as of yesterday, the southern flooding had affected 404,010 farmers and damaged 999,111 rai of farmland.