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Spa tax to be scrapped

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET CITY: The controversial 10% tax on spa services will soon be scrapped, a member of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has said during a recent visit to the Phuket Provincial Health Office.

Sangsit Piriyarangsan, head of the NLA’s finance committee and chair of a special panel set up to review the spa tax, said his members heard from representatives from the Federation of Thai Spas about how the tax and other unnecessary control measures imposed by the Public Health were crippling their industry.

As the panel agreed with their argument the tax would be waived within two weeks’ time, he said.

“Currently, all spa businesses are classified no differently that massage parlors that offer sexual services. This means they are subject to a tax of 10% in addition to local tax, which brings the total to more than 11%. I set up the committee so that we could compile a range of opinions to present to the Ministry of Finance,” said K. Sangsit.

“The Excise Department can levy about 100 million baht a year from spa tax, far less when compared with other types of tax. As only about 20% of businesses advertising themselves as spas are thought to be part of the sex trade, owners of the remaining 80% are firmly against the tax,” said K. Sangsit.

“The spa tax should be canceled. The Excise Department itself acknowledges that spas provide a legitimate service to help revive people. I don’t understand how the Ministry of Public Health can label spas as a dangerous business. It’s just not true. I think the former government made a mistake when it implemented this tax.”

K. Sangsit said that by canceling spa tax, the Thai spa industry will be able to excel and become one of the best in the world, helping Thai people earn better incomes. Most of that income will stay in Thailand, because about 90% of the spas in Thailand are run by local people. The government should support these people, he added.

“I would expect the results of this report to be available within about two weeks,” said K. Sangsit.

Apichai Chianadisak, the chairman of the Federation of Thai Spas, said that the government should use spas as part of its strategy to develop Thailand into a health center for Asia.

“We encountered many problems with the spa tax. The ministry will now give the issue due consideration,” he said.

 

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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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