Thai PM aims to broaden tax base, bring in inheritance tax

Thai PM aims to broaden tax base, bring in inheritance tax
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (R) reads out his government's policy, as Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan listens, at the Parliament in Bangkok September 12, 2014.

BANGKOK - Thailand's prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, said on Friday his military-backed government aimed to broaden the tax base in the new fiscal year from October, bringing in an inheritance tax among other changes.

In his first speech to an appointed parliament after seizing power in a military coup in May and becoming prime minister in August, Prayuth said that only 20 million people out of Thailand's population of about 68 million pay taxes. "The tax collection in this new fiscal year will be broadened to new tax bases to boost revenue to the country and promote fairness. This will include an inheritance tax and land tax," he said. "The tax issue is aimed at promoting fairness, with a limited impact on low-income earners... Those tax (benefits) that favour the rich will be terminated," Prayuth said.

In a wide-ranging, two-hour policy speech that was short on detail, Prayuth gave no indication on how long he would need to push through reforms he plans for Thailand.

He has said that a general election could be held late next year, after a reform of the electoral system, although some political analysts believe he could be in power longer.

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