The deputy general of Thailand’s Customs Department, Chaiyuth Kamkhun, has stated that Super Zara must pay the unsettled 40% income tax on the first instalment of 100 NGV buses. Failure to do so, will result in public prosecution.
Super Zara imported almost 500 buses in two lots for the Bestlin Group, who hold the contract to supply Bangkok Mass Transit Authority. The contract is worth around 1.3 billion baht.
The company says that the buses are exempt from tax, claiming they were assembled in Malaysia, meaning that under the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) no tax is due.
AFTA is an agreement between ten Asian nations supporting local manufacturing. Currently there are ten members including Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and of course Thailand.
However, the Customs Department disagree and insist the fleet of buses were in fact manufactured in China, delivered to Malaysia before being shipped to Thailand.
Super Zara could be charged with tax avoidance and falsely declaring the origin of the vehicles.
The penalty, should they be found guilty, could be four times of tax plus VAT.