Bangkok’s vacant land owners growing fruit and vegetables to evade vacant-land tax

PHOTO: Tax evasion can have a useful side-effect - The Thaiger

A loophole in land tax around Bangkok (actually everywhere in Thailand) is having an unexpected side effect, mostly good. Many vacant property owners in Bangkok are growing fruit and vegetables to escape the newly launched tax on their undeveloped land.

For example, Banana trees are now growing on an expensive piece of land near Naradhiwat-Rajanagarindra Road. To avoid the new Land and Building Tax Act’s tax on vacant land, some landowners had decided to grow banana or lime trees on their land to pay the lower tax rate for agricultural use of the land.

The revised land and building tax act 2019 came into effect on January 1. Owners of vacant land pay a higher tax rate than those who used their land for agricultural, residential or commercial purposes. The act states that the owners of agricultural land with an appraised value up to 75 million baht must pay a tax at 0.01% of the value. From 75-100 million baht valuation, the rate is 0.03%. 100-500 million baht value the rate is 0.05%, etc… 1 billion baht-plus value, the rate it is 0.1%.

In the case of undeveloped land, the owners must pay rates from 3-6 times higher. So owners who are hanging onto their land at expensive locations are now growing grow fruit trees such as lime, banana or papaya to avoid payment of tax on vacant land.

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Even along Ratchadaphisek, Rama IX and Ekamai roads in Bangkok, prime land locations, we’re now seeing mini plantations of banana, mango, lime and other fruit trees.

SOURCE: The Nation

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