ASEAN Today – Regional Legal and Business News – January 2021

ASEAN Today – Regional Legal and Business News for January 2021 including an Immigration Update on the TM30 Requirement at the OSSC and COVID-19 on the Work Permit Medical Certificate and Corporate Law News including the Extension for Tax Filings and Tax Payments, the Tax Reduction for Land and Building Taxes, and the Increase of Child Benefit Rates

 

ASEAN Economic Community News

ASEAN Data Management Framework
The ASEAN Digital Ministers’ Meeting approved the ASEAN Data Management Framework (DMF) and Model Contractual Clauses for Cross Border Data Flows (MCCs) this month. The ASEAN DMF and MCCs are key resources and tools for ASEAN businesses to utilize in their data-related business operations. The DMF provides a step-by-step guide to putting a data management system in place and includes data governance structures and safeguards. The MCCs are template contractual terms and conditions that can be included in binding legal agreements between businesses that transfer personal data across borders. The MCCs will also help reduce negotiations, compliance costs, and time, especially for SMEs.

ASEAN Consumer Empowerment Index
ASEAN launched the ASEAN Consumer Empowerment Index 2020 Pilot Project (ACEI 2020) under the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for Consumer Protection 2016-2025 in January 2021. The ACEI is a composite index based on country level questionnaire surveys that benchmark the national level of consumer empowerment in each member state against that of the ASEAN region. The key indicators are grouped into three components – consumer awareness, consumer skills, and consumer behavior. The results of the AECI 2020 will help facilitate a better understanding of consumer empowerment in ASEAN and assist in further refining ACEI’s methodology for future surveys. The next ACEI is scheduled to be launched in 2024.

Regional Recovery Strategy
ASEAN was on its way to becoming the world’s fourth largest economy before COVID-19. The pandemic has caused prolonged socio-economic disruptions in the ASEAN region and exposed fundamental weaknesses and vulnerabilities in various sectors. Experts believe that the vaccine rollouts will allow the start of recovery, but that for the region to be restored to pre-pandemic levels, ASEAN must keep prioritizing 3 key areas to ensure sustainable, resilient growth. First is continuing to ensure effective cooperation between the ASEAN member states and multilateral cooperation with ASEAN’s external partners. Second is the continued expansion of connectivity and digital transformation. Third, ASEAN needs to continue invest in sustainability and incentivize environmentally friendly investment.

Brunei News
Economic Blueprint
Brunei’s Ministry of Finance and Economy launched the Brunei Economic Blueprint (BEP) earlier this month. The BEP is under Brunei Vision 2035 which is the government’s plan to diversify the country’s economy away from petroleum which makes up 95% of its exports. The BEP provides guidelines for the development of a dynamic, stable economy and focuses on the importance of reskilling the labor force, implementing open trade policies, and promoting an environment conducive to business. The government wants to give precedence to priority sectors to spearhead economic development including downstream oil and gas, food, tourism, and Information and communication technology (ICT).

Singapore/Laos Update
Singapore Patent Re-Registration in Laos
The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) of Laos signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in November 2019 that allows the DIP to grant quality patents in Laos based on searches and examinations conducted by IPOS and for Singapore granted patents to be re-registered in Laos without needing to go through search and examination. The guidelines to re-register a Singapore patent in Laos were announced in May 2020, but due to COVID-19, certain requirements were not finalized such as the time limit for submitting a re-registration request, but these were clarified this month. There is no time limit for a re-registration request and the only requirements for re-registration are that the Singapore patent is in force, the patent meets the Lao DIP standards for patentability, and has a filing date before January 17, 2002. There are no official fees except for a patent publication fee.

Philippines Watch
Tax News
Due to finding evidence that cheap imported cars are causing serious injury to the local automotive industry, the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry is imposing additional taxes on vehicle imports. Imported passenger cars are being levied a cash bond of PP 70,000 (US$ 1500) and PP 110,000 for imported light commercial vehicles. The Philippine Department of Finance announced that it expects full nationwide implementation of its fuel marking program to curb smuggling and multiple digitization projects to improve tax administration in 2021. As of early January, the program had marked 18 billion liters of fuel. One of the tax administration programs targeted to launch in Q1 2021 is the electronic Tax Exemption System (TES) that will allow qualified importers to register, file, and track online their duty- and tax-exemption applications.

Myanmar Bulletin
Non-Bank Financial Institutions
The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) released Notification 1/2012 which contains new regulations on the establishment, operation, and business conduct of non-bank financial institutions in the country and includes setting interest rates. The Notification applies to legal entities formed with the intention of establishing a non-bank financial institution and any engaged in financing, leasing, and factoring activities. The Notification also lists the circumstances in which the CBM will revoke a registration, which it has done twice in the last 5 years.

Indonesia Update
Revised Intellectual Property Rights Rules
To help add jobs and lure foreign investment, Indonesia is cutting foreign ownership curbs. The list of industries limited to foreign investment has been cut from 300+ to just 48. Communications, information and technology, energy, tourism, and the creative economy have been removed from the list of restricted sectors. Indonesia will still maintain a list of priority sectors that are export oriented, capital or labor intensive projects, or are key to national strategic interest. The list will also include industries eligible for fiscal incentives such as tax holiday and non-fiscal incentives like business licensing and guaranteed availability of raw materials.

Laos News
Carbon Credits
Laos signed an agreement with the World Bank this month to sell carbon credits from designated forest areas in six of its northern provinces. The World Bank, under its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, has agreed to purchase US$42 million in carbon credits from Laos from 2020-2025. The agreement is also an incentive for Laos to protect its forest areas as the actual amount of money earned with depend on the amount of carbon credits available from these areas.

THAILAND LEGAL REVIEW

Immigration News
TM30 Requirement at OSSC Update
According to the Immigration officer at the One Stop Service Center (OSSC), a TM30 report is not required in every case when filing a 90-day report at the OSSC. While a copy of the Notification of Residence of Foreigners (TM30) is listed as one of the required documents when filing a 90-day report, the Immigration officer stated that only a few cases will actually require the TM30.

Visa holders who will be required to have the TM30 when filing a 90-day report at the OSSC are persons who received their visas on the basis of Special Law, i.e., BOI (Board of Investment), IEAT (Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand), DMF (Department of Mineral and Fuels)), and their visas were issued by a Provincial Immigration Office outside of Bangkok. For these cases, the TM30 will be required when filing a 90-day report at the OSSC.

COVID-19 on Medical Certificate
On December 25, 2020, the Ministry of Interior issued Ministerial Regulations stating that foreigners who have any of the followings diseases will not be allowed to enter Thailand or apply for Permanent Residence: tuberculosis, elephantiasis, leprosy drug addiction, alcoholism, stage-3 syphilis, and COVID-19. The Ministerial Regulations came into effect on January 24, 2021.

The Ministerial Regulations cover foreigners who wish to enter Thailand and foreigners who want to apply for Permanent Residence. Foreigners applying for visa extensions in Thailand will not be impacted under the new regulations. (Actually, as per the current requirement of the Thai Embassies designated by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all foreigners must submit a Medical Certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 was not detected when applying for Certificate of Entry prior to entering Thailand). Furthermore, at this time, there have been no changes to the Medical Certificate used when applying for new work permit or work permit renewal at the Employment Department. This means that COVID-19 is not included as a prohibited disease for work permit holders.

Corporate Law News
Extension for Tax Filing and Tax Payment
Personal Income Tax
Under the Notification of the Ministry of Finance on the extension for personal income tax filing and tax payment dated January 28, 2021, the deadline for filing and payment of personal income tax for the tax year 2020 (P.N.D. 90 and P.N.D. 91) which is due by March 31, 2021, for manual filing, or by April 8, 2021, under the 8-day extension for e-Tax filing [Pursuant to the Notification of Ministry of Finance (No. 3), dated December 15, 2020], will be extended to June 30, 2021, for e-Tax filing only:

Personal Income Tax Return

(P.N.D. 90 and P.N.D. 91)

Original

(Manual)

8-day extension

(e-Tax filing)

Extended to

(e-Tax filing)

31 March 2021 8 April 2021 30 June 2021

 

In case of filing a personal income tax return and being eligible to make payment in installments of 3 months, such installments shall be made as follows:

Period Conditions
1st Payment Made simultaneously with filing of tax return within extension period as mentioned above
2nd Payment Made within 1 month from the last day of making 1st payment
3rd Payment Made within 1 month from the last day of making 2nd payment

 

However, in case of default on payment for any period, such eligible person will be deprived of the right to pay in installments and will be assessed a surcharge.

Withholding Tax / Value Added Tax

Under the Notification of the Ministry of Finance on the extension for e-Tax Filing and Tax payment (No.4), dated January 28, 2021, the deadline for filing and payment of withholding tax (Por.Ngor.Dor. 1, 2, 3, 53, and 54) and Value Added Tax (VAT) (Por.Por. 30 and 36) made via e-Tax filing between February 2021 to June 2021 will be extended as follows: 

Withholding Tax Return

(Por.Ngor.Dor. 1, 2, 3, 53, 54)

VAT Remittance Return

(Por.Por. 36)

Original

(Manual)

8-day extension

(e-Tax filing)

Extended to

(e-Tax filing)

February
8 Feb 2021 15 Feb 2021 28 Feb 2021
March
8 Mar 2021 15 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021
April
7 Apr 2021 16 April 2021 30 Apr 2021
May
7 May 2021 17 May 2021 31 May 2021
June
7 Jun 2021 15 Jun 2021 30 Jun 2021

 

VAT Return

(Por.Por. 30)

Original

(Manual)

8-day extension

(e-Tax filing)

Extended to

(e-Tax filing)

February
15 Feb 2021 23 Feb 2021 28 Feb 2021
March
15 Mar 2021 23 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021
April
16 Apr 2021 23 April 2021 30 Apr 2021
May
17 May 2021 24 May 2021 31 May 2021
June
15 Jun 2021 23 Jun 2021 30 Jun 2021

 

Increase of Child Benefit Rates
Pursuant to the Ministerial Regulation on children’s allowance (No. 2) B.E. 2564 (A.D. 2021), starting from January 1, 2021, onwards, the monthly allowance for any employees who have children under six years of age, whether born before or after such employee registered with the Social Security Fund, has been increased from 600 Baht to 800 Baht a month per child. However, the number of children shall not exceed three children.

Tax Reduction for Land and Building Taxes
On February 1, 2021, the Royal Decree regarding the reduction of land and building tax (No. 2) B.E. 2564 (A.D. 2021) became effective. The tax rates on the following land or buildings will be reduced by 90% for the 2021 tax year:
a) Land or buildings utilized for agricultural purposes
b) Land or buildings utilized for residential purposes
c) Land or buildings utilized for other purposes apart from agriculture and residential
d) Vacant/Non-Utilized Land or buildings

Remark: According to the Approval of the Minister of Interior, the set payment date for land and building taxes will be extended from within April 2021 to within June 2021. However, the Announcement of the Governor of Bangkok to support such approval has not been issued at this stage, but is expected to be made soon.

 

Disclaimer
The material contained herein is only provided for information purposes. No part thereof may be deemed to constitute legal advice or the opinions of this law firm or any of its attorneys. Whilst every effort has been made to verify the contents of the material contained herein, we do not represent, warrant, undertake, or guarantee that the information contained in this newsletter is correct, accurate, or complete. Legal advice must be sought before acting on any information contained herein.

 

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