Satit Rungkasiri, the director-general of the Revenue Department, said he was reluctant to impose harsh measures on the mostly young entrepreneurs who operate e-commerce sites. Authorities in fact want to encourage the growth of e-commerce as trade barriers fall with the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. Mr Satit said:
“If we clamp down harshly on these new entrepreneurs, we are basically hurting the next generation of business leaders who represent the future of our economic growth,” he said.
Mr Satit acknowledged, however, that many younger businessmen lacked a sense of social duty to pay taxes. But he warned that it was a misconception that the Revenue Department was unable to track online businesses. He said it was a simple matter to monitor financial flows and electronic payments used to settle e-commerce transactions.
“What we believe, though, is that it is necessary to educate these younger businessmen about what it means to be a good citizen and pay your taxes,” Mr Satit said.
He said that the Revenue Department would also try to compromise with e-businesses to encourage them to comply with tax rules:
“Our principle is that if you are sincere in trying to settle your tax liabilities, and are earnest in doing so going forward, we won’t look into the past [tax payments],” Mr Satit said.
The article is a brief and interesting reading. It shows that the tax authorities everywhere understand the importance of the e-commerce as a tax revenue and that are discovering means to track down and tax e-businesses. Although the article speaks mostly about sales of goods if conveys a very interesting philosophy of the Bangkok’s top tax-man which can be applied to every e-business.
I wish all tax authorities would be so tolerant and would think in long-term benefits for their countries instead of short-term gains for the state budget. Thumbs-up.