Cus­toms claims $130m in car du­ties

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

THE Cus­toms Depart­ment will claim 4.2 bil­lion baht (around US$130 mil­lion) in im­port du­ties for 250 lux­ury cars from im­porters as part of its ef­fort to crack down on tax eva­sion.

The 250 cars are among 300 lux­ury ve­hi­cles seized by the Depart­ment of Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion (DSI) and ex­am­ined by the Cus­toms Depart­ment to de­ter­mine if they were taxed cor­rectly, said Chaiyut Kumkun, the depart­ment’s spokesman.

Af­ter the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the depart­ment will re­quire the im­porters to pay im­port du­ties worth 4.2 bil­lion baht, he said.

The DSI has been round­ing up im­ported su­per­cars in re­cent months to ver­ify their doc­u­ments and sum­moned a num­ber of lux­ury car im­porters to ac­knowl­edge charges of falsely declar­ing im­port prices to avoid tax pay­ments.

Su­per­car im­porter Panusak Techat­erasiri, aka Boy Unity, filed a 50-mil­lion-baht law­suit against the DSI in June, claim­ing the raids on his show­rooms were un­war­ranted and dealt his com­pany a heavy financial blow.

Re­gard­ing the buy­ers, the depart­ment will con­sider whether they knew the deal­ers had failed to pay the taxes cor­rectly, he said.

If the buy­ers did not know the cars were im­prop­erly taxed, the depart­ment will con­sider them in­no­cent, said Mr Chaiyut.

Tax eva­sion al­le­ga­tions have a 10year statute of lim­i­ta­tions, start­ing from the time the cars are im­ported to Thai­land.

As the Cus­toms Depart­ment does not have the su­per­cars’ im­ported prices, which are used for duty com­pu­ta­tion, it must seek in­for­ma­tion from sev­eral sources, in­clud­ing the web­sites of deal­ers abroad, to serve as ref­er­ence prices in its so-called min­is­te­rial an­nounce­ment num­ber 317/2004, he said.

But the in­for­ma­tion in this an­nounce­ment was leaked to lux­ury car im­porters, who then de­clared prices based on the ref­er­ence prices, which have been far be­low mar­ket prices, to un­der­state their tax bills.

To stem the loop­hole, the Cus­toms Depart­ment de­cided to raise the ref­er­ence prices for four lux­ury car brands -- Fer­rari, Lam­borgh­ini, Maserati and Porsche -- said Mr Chaiyut, adding that some of the ref­er­ence prices have been dou­bled.

He said the Cus­toms Depart­ment will in­crease the ref­er­ence prices for other brands later as it is still wait­ing for re­lated in­for­ma­tion.

– The Bangkok Post

Photo: The Bangkok Post

An of­fi­cial walks around a show­room dur­ing an in­spec­tion of lux­ury cars that were im­pounded over al­leged im­port tax eva­sion.

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