Businesses Benefit as Customs Department Extends Covid-19 Measures

Reduced Interest Rate for Unpaid Customs Duties Extended

In June, the Minister of Finance issued a Ministerial Regulation extending the COVID-19 response measure that reduced the interest rate on unpaid customs duties. After the prior interest reduction regulation expired on March 30th, 2022, the interest rate consequently returned to pre-pandemic level. The Regulation issued in June applies retroactively from April 1st 2022, effectively extending the reduced interest rate.

The new Regulation applies in cases when an importer or exporter has taken goods out of the Customs Department’s custody or exported goods out of Thailand before paying the applicable customs duty in full. If the importer or exporter pays the remaining duty between April 1st 2022, and September 30th 2022, then the interest rate will be reduced to 0.25%. However, the reduction does not apply if it is determined that the non-payment was motivated by an intent to evade custom duties.

Interest is calculated starting on the date goods were removed from the Customs Department’s custody (or transported out of Thailand), and ending on the date the duty was paid in full. Interest shall accrue at a rate of 0.25% per month. Interest shall not be prorated for fractions of a month; a fraction shall be considered a full month for the purposes of calculating interest.

COVID-19 Related Transit Delays Eligible for Customs Exemption

The Ministry of Finance issued Ministerial Regulation (No. 4) B.E. 2565 (2022) in June to provide relief for businesses impacted by COVID-19 related transit delays. This Regulation exempts certain goods and shipments from penalization under Section 102 and 103 of the Customs Act B.E 2560 (2017). Section 102 requires that goods brought into Thailand for transit or transshipment must be shipped out of the country within thirty days of arrival.  Normally when Section 102 regulations are not met, the goods can be seized by the state according to procedures outlined in Section 103. However, ongoing transit delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic mean that many goods simply cannot be shipped out of Thailand within the prescribed thirty days.

In response to these challenges, ministerial regulations were issued exempting certain goods from the thirty-day shipment requirement, thereby protecting those goods from state seizure. Goods which arrive between April 1st 2022, and September 30th 2022, are eligible for exemption. To qualify for the exemption, evidence must be provided showing that transit delays were pandemic related.


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