Thailand revokes confusing customs regulations

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Gaybutton
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#1 Thailand revokes confusing customs regulations

Postby Gaybutton » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:02 pm

I'm still a bit confused. The article does not make it clear whether "Thai residents" include farang on long term visas, such as the retirement visa.

I'm not even sure who would even be receiving declaration forms. The last time I was out of Thailand was over five years ago. Just like literally every time I ever entered Thailand from abroad, there was no one stationed at the airport customs area to inspect anything. I could have sailed right out of the terminal with virtually anything in my luggage.

Was that just my experience or do you folks also experience this upon entry to Thailand?
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Thai customs revokes ‘confusing’ travel rule on expensive personal items

Thai Customs Department on Tuesday annulled a regulation issued in February requiring travelers leaving and entering the country via airports to declare personal belongings such as cameras, brand-name handbags, mobile phones and computer notebooks.

The department said the regulation had led to misunderstanding and confusion.

Travellers leaving the country had been required to provide documentation for the listed possessions and show them to Customs officials so they could be registered.

The registration documents had to be shown to customs officials who will conduct a random check on their return to Thailand.

The regulation was intended to ensure that items purchased overseas would be subject to taxation on landing. The department still requires Thailand residents returning home from abroad to declare any such items purchased overseas and valued above Bt20,000 and to pay taxes on them.

Department director general Kulit Sombatsiri said the regulation was revoked because it had led to misunderstanding and discomfort among Thais travelling abroad during Songkran. He said the regulation would be reviewed over the next few months and adjusted to make the process clearer.

https://pattayaone.news/en/thai-customs ... nal-items/

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#2 Re: Thailand revokes confusing customs regulations

Postby Asia Traveler » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:33 pm

Never seen anyone stopped at customs but I do see staff watching folks exiting through the “Nothing to declare” exit.

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#3 Re: Thailand revokes confusing customs regulations

Postby fountainhall » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:03 pm

The department still requires Thailand residents returning home from abroad to declare any such items purchased overseas and valued above Bt20,000 and to pay taxes on them.

I know this dates me but I needed a new CD player and I wanted a good one. The price here from the on-line store was Bt. 19,900 in September. I then checked around and discovered there is a hi-fi chain in the UK selling exactly the same unit at £267. The following month when I was in the UK, that equalled just under Bt. 10,000. So I purchased one in England. Knowing that you are allowed Bt. 20,000 allowance, I did not bother to try to hide it in my suitcase and just carried it in the original packing. On going through the green channel I was stopped, the outside of the packing was examined and I was told I had to go through the red channel. There I was informed I had to pay tax. I asked "why?" since I was way under the permissible limit. "The limit does not cover electrical goods!!!" So I had to pay Bt. 1,680 extra (rounded down to 1,500) and was given a formal receipt which had been printed out on their computer.

Frankly, I was still saving a bundle and was in no mood to try to find out more. So I do not know if this was only for foreigners even though the lady knew I had a retirement visa, a genuine tax due on those types of goods payable by everyone (if found carrying them) or some sort of scam. I doubt it was a scam considering I have the formal receipt which could be shown to the authorities had I tried to query it.

The only point of mentioning this is that the Bt. 20,000 limit seems to have "limitations"!

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#4 Re: Thailand revokes confusing customs regulations

Postby Gaybutton » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:49 am

fountainhall wrote:I was way under the permissible limit. "The limit does not cover electrical goods!!!"

While you still came out way ahead, it seems unfair that the limit does not cover electronics. I've never seen anything in the rules saying any such thing. It doesn't make any sense. Why should electronics be excluded?

If the rules do not clearly specify that electronics are not covered, then to me this seems to be yet another instance of finding yourself at the mercy of the whim of the particular official you happen to be dealing with.

In any case, what you could have done was to open the package and use the CD player a few times before your trip, and then bringing it in something other than its original packaging. Then, at least they couldn't claim it's a new unused product and charge you accordingly.

Maybe that idea of registering certain belongings, such as an expensive mobile phone, before leaving Thailand isn't such a bad idea after all. Then, at least you would be able to prove to Customs that you already owned the item and it's not a new purchase from overseas.

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#5 Re: Thailand revokes confusing customs regulations

Postby mahjongguy » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:33 am

Gaybutton wrote:Maybe that idea of registering certain belongings, such as an expensive mobile phone, before leaving Thailand isn't such a bad idea after all.

Not registering exactly, but you should definitely carry receipts with you for expensive items like cameras and jewelry that you purchased in Thailand.

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#6 Re: Thailand revokes confusing customs regulations

Postby Gaybutton » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:52 pm

mahjongguy wrote:you should definitely carry receipts with you for expensive items like cameras and jewelry that you purchased in Thailand

Good idea if you still have receipts. In my case I rarely keep receipts other than ones I need for warranties or income tax purposes.

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#7 Re: Thailand revokes confusing customs regulations

Postby fountainhall » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:55 pm

I always keep receipts, although I have only had to show them about 3 times over the last few decades. Coming in to Thailand I also manually write the exchange rate on the receipt and show the amount in Baht. It's my way of helping the Customs' staff! Only I use a rate that is at least 10% below the actual rate. I cannot believe, although I could be wrong, that customs have an exchange rate list on hand. And even if they do, here in Bangkok it is likely to be the one issued daily by the money exchanges just outside - where the rates are often up to 8 - 10% less than you should be getting in town!


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