Golf course operators seek changes in land tax bill

Golf course operators have asked the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to add golf courses as another land category in the land tax bill with a lower tax rate, or they will all be out of business.

Pornsit Sri-orathaikul, who represents the Thai Golf Course Association and other golf course groups, submitted the letter to NLA president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai at Parliament on Friday.

“We would like to ask the panel vetting the land and buildings tax bill to add golf courses as another category in the new law with a lower tax rate, or clearly put golf courses in the tax reduction or exemption clause instead of requiring a royal decree for the change,” Mr Pornsit said.

Under the proposed tax rates, the operators of some 300 golf courses in the country, with 350-450 rai each, will have to pay 20 million baht a year in land tax for each course, or 10 times what they currently pay under the existing land and buildings tax law, to be superseded by the bill, he claimed.

“At that rate, no private golf course operator will be able to survive. After all, we have to pay the value-added tax and corporate income tax as well.

“If no change is made to the bill, all golf course operators will suffer huge losses and be forced to use the land for farming or other businesses with less punitive tax rates,” he said.

In the latest revision of the bill being considered by the NLA, land is classified into four categories -- farmland, residential land, commercial land and vacant land.

The tax rates for the first three categories are not more than 0.2%, 0.5% and 2% of the appraised value respectively. For vacant land, the rate is 2% plus 0.5 percentage points every three years up to 5% total.

Since golf courses fall into the commercial use category, the tax is up to 2%.

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