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Tax evaders and forgetful businessmen beware

Northern economy has its ups and downs

Consumer confidence index falls for eighth month running

Tax evaders and forgetful businessmen beware

Just give the tax man all your money and leave quietly

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

The Revenue Department and the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce recently organized a “Tax up-to-date 2005” seminar. The objective was to inform business managers about new rules and regulations for paying taxes and easier management of business funds, to comply with the standards of money balance, and to pay taxes correctly.

Sathit Rangkhasiri, deputy director of the Revenue Department presides over the opening ceremony of the ‘Tax up to date 2005’ seminar.

Sathit Rangkhasiri, deputy director of the Revenue Department, presided over the opening ceremony on March 4 at Chiang Mai Phucome Hotel.

Thongchai Wongrianthong, Chiang Mai deputy governor, stated that this was the second seminar, striving to continually improve the cooperation between government, Revenue Department, and the Chamber of Commerce.

He added that all citizens have to pay taxes because it is needed for developing the country and supporting the politicians in the style to which they had grown accustomed. The tax paying method has changed due to new technologies, such as pay via the Internet, so the seminar was organized to create some understanding concerning new rules and regulations for paying tax. If the businessmen could reform the tax paying system, the business capital could be reduced, too.

Sathit Rangkhasiri demonstrated the new form that the Revenue Department had provided for paying through the Internet. This is easier, he claimed, than using the former general form. The new form needs only some information to compute and it informs of the law concerning paying taxes. It is also linked to other departments so that Big Brother can watch all your cash movements. Waiting in a queue is not necessary.

Northern economy has its ups and downs

Staff Reporters

The Bank of Thailand (BoT), Northern Region, reported that the economy in the North slowed in January 2005. Private consumption expanded, due to an increase in agricultural product costs. In the construction sector, investment increased, especially for household construction. However, industrial production, especially export productivity, slowed because of a decreased overseas demand.

Service activity was affected by the natural disaster in the Andaman Sea and resulted in a reduction in foreign tourist arrivals. Confusingly, the BoT reported that Thailand arrivals showed an overall increase. The establishment of a number of low cost airlines and additional flights boosted air travel by 7.2 percent but hotel and restaurant occupancy rates decreased by 13 and 5.8 percent. Hotel average room rates increased by 25 percent due, ostensibly, to renovated rooms but probably due to an attempt to take advantage of the season and increased foreign travel to the North.

The northern region labor force stood at 6.8 million with only 1.7 percent unemployed.

Inflation fell but commercial bank deposits appeared to accelerate. The trade balance registered a surplus of USD 74.5 million, compared with a surplus of USD 57.5 in the previous year.

Consumer confidence index falls for eighth month running

Thailand’s consumer confidence index dropped for the eighth consecutive month in February due to continuing fears over fuel prices, the director of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Economic and Business Forecasting Centre, Thanawat Polvichai announced last week.

The February statistics put the consumer confidence index at 92.9 points, down from 94.6 points in January, while the overall economic confidence index fell from 90.9 points to 88.7 points. Thanawat said that last month’s figures marked the 14th consecutive month in which the consumer confidence index had remained below 100 points and the eighth consecutive fall, indicating continuing disquiet over the economic situation.

He also noted that the confidence of consumers in the future situation slumped from 93.5 points in January to only 91.6 points in February, a result he attributed to the rising prices of diesel and gasoline, and concomitant fears over increases in the prices of goods.

Other factors affecting consumer confidence were the southern insurgency, avian flu and the last December tsunamis, he added, warning that these factors could work to dampen consumer confidence until the middle of this year.

Nonetheless, he pointed to a number of positive factors, including the landslide general election victory which enabled the ruling Thai Rak Thai (TRT) Party to form a single-party government, as well as government investment in mega projects.

In order to boost consumer confidence, he advocated that the government made payouts from the central budget according to schedule, and worked to ensure the stability of the Thai currency. At the same time, he warned the government not to make excessive increases in fuel prices, with the price of diesel capped at no more than 16.59 baht per liter. But he expressed certainty that the Thai economy would grow by 5.2.-5.7 percent this year, with a trade surplus of around US$2.3 billion and a current account surplus of USD3 billion. (TNA)