Dive industry facing tough new rules

PHUKET: Phuket’s Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Nivit Aroonrat yesterday handed the Governor a proposal to issue an order that will require all dive businesses on the island to register with the government within 30 days.

Thereafter, the dive shops will have to provide specific details – including how many foreigners they employ and whether the foreign employees have work permits.

The proposal is based on recommendations by a committee, headed by Palad Nivit, which was set up amid allegations that many dive businesses run by foreigners on the island are evading tax.

Palad Nivit told the Gazette, “[If the Governor approves the proposal] every dive company will have to register at the Phuket Marine Office within 30 days [of the order being issued by the Governor].”

After the 30-day registration period has expired, the operation will move into its second stage, also of 30 days. During this period, operators who have registered must provide all the documentation demanded of them and apply for a permit to operate a dive business in Phuket.

“The permit will be issued by the Governor or by another senior government officer delegated by the Governor,” Palad Nivit said.

“Dive operators will have to declare all information about their businesses, such as the number of boats they have, how many dive trips they make a day, how payments for dive trips are received, the number of employees in the company, how many foreign employees they have and whether those foreign employees have work permits or not, and so on,” he added.

Phuket Marine Office Chief Surin Theerakulpisut said, “We are waiting for the Governor to sign the order before we will announce to the dive operators that they have 60 days to complete the [registration] process.

“Dive operators will have to show us every bit of information about their businesses, including how they operate. For example, if companies have websites, they will have to inform us.

“They will also have to declare how they receive payments, and show us all their accounts. This way we will know how much revenue they receive, so that we can work out how much tax they should pay.”

K. Surin added that the Phuket dive industry is believed to generate about 3 billion baht in revenue a year. “The province has never received all the taxes that it should get from them, and these new rules will help us to collect taxes in full,” he said.

Several crucial points are unclear at this stage: precisely what information will be required; what penalties will be imposed on those who do not comply; whether dive operators will be allowed to continue working during the 60-day process; and how long it will take for permits to be issued.

Phuket News

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

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