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Phuket Business: Let’s go back and review the basics

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Business: Let’s go back and review the basics | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Every once in a while I think it’s good to go back and review the basics. This is especially important in a world where the rate of change keeps increasing. Ever since the financial crisis began we have heard a lot of saber rattling with regards to offshore financial centers, banking secrecy, tax information exchange agreements and so forth.

The good news is that for those who use offshore jurisdictions for legitimate wealth management purposes, nothing has really changed or is likely to in the foreseeable future.

For those laundering money, or living in their home country and evading taxes, the result of recent changes is that it is getting more difficult to avoid being caught, and in my opinion that’s a good thing.

Generally speaking, anyone who’s classified as a non-resident of their home country for tax purposes, aka an expat, is allowed to make investments anywhere they like and pay taxes according the laws of that jurisdiction.

The exceptions are of course Americans, who are taxed on worldwide income, regardless of where they reside, and those who move to jurisdictions which tax on worldwide income. Thailand is not one of these, and as such, many expats here have very legitimate reasons to use offshore centers to manage their wealth.

Certain jurisdictions, such as the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey for example, have political stability that comes with being part of the UK, while still maintaining a tax free environment for investors. They also have extremely robust investor protection schemes, and as such are very popular with expats all over the world.

The most obvious use of offshore jurisdictions is simple bank accounts. Offshore accounts allow for expats moving from one place to another without having to move their life savings each time. They also often have higher rates of interest than their onshore counterparts, although at the moment this is just the difference between diddly and diddly squat.

Banking secrecy laws also ensure privacy, which is important. Even with most tax information exchange agreements, a government needs to go to a judge in the offshore jurisdiction with pretty solid evidence of involvement in drug dealing, terrorism, or money laundering, in order to get a court order to override the secrecy laws.

Investment options offshore also allow you to access funds normally reserved for the very wealthy.

Unfortunately, in recent years, this has meant to many people that they lost money with much higher quality fund managers. One’s overall financial position in the long run is almost certainly going to be better off using the kinds of strategies politicians and executives of large corporations are using themselves. This is also a big reason why nothing is likely to ever change, as the people in power who “make” the rules so to speak, are not going to seriously attack the places that house their own money, regardless of what they may say in the press.

The biggest benefit of an offshore center for someone residing in Thailand, is the ability to be globally diversified and not have all of their wealth inside a potentially volatile developing country. I absolutely love it here and hope to gain citizenship sometime in the next few years, but, as a realist, I am well aware of how many coups have happened in the last century. While the currency has appreciated and local markets have done extremely well recently, one needs only look back to 1997 to see why having your money offshore can offer some important protection in the event of a local crisis.

David Mayes MBA lives in Phuket and provides wealth management services to expats around the globe, focusing on UK pension transfers. He can be reached at 085-335-8573 or david.m@faramond.com.

— David Mayes

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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