In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the cultivation of highly skilled personnel in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) has become a critical driver of economic growth and innovation. To encourage and support such development, the Thai government has introduced tax measures aimed at fostering the enhancement of employee skills in STEM disciplines. This legal update delves into the intricacies of two significant Royal Decrees, namely Tax Exemption (No. 777) and Tax Exemption (No. 778), issued under the provisions of the Revenue Code.
Tax Exemption (No. 777)
Commencing from 16th August 2023, Tax Exemption (No. 777) introduces a novel approach to promote the employment of highly skilled personnel in STEM fields. This decree provides an income tax exemption for companies and juristic partnerships, granting relief for actual salary expenses paid to highly skilled employees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. The exemption, capped at one hundred thousand (100,000) baht per person per month, encourages the engagement of individuals proficient in these critical domains.
For eligibility, these employees must hold certifications as highly skilled individuals in the specified STEM disciplines and occupy positions designated by related agencies set by the Director-General. Additionally, they should commence employment within the time frame of 1st January 2023 to 31st December 2025. Importantly, individuals who were previously beneficiaries of Tax Exemption (No. 777) within the year preceding the new employment contract commencement date are ineligible for its benefits.
Tax Exemption (No. 778)
Effective from 16th August 2023, Tax Exemption (No. 778) seeks to incentivize companies and juristic partnerships to invest in the education and training of their workforce in certified STEM curricula. Under this decree, these entities are eligible for a corporate income tax exemption of up to one hundred and fifty percent (150%) of the expenses incurred in sending their employees for STEM training programs. The Director-General will announce certified curricula and the associated criteria, methods, and conditions.
Notably, companies availing tax benefits under this decree are precluded from utilizing these expenses for similar tax benefits granted by other Royal Decrees issued under the Revenue Code. Furthermore, such expenses cannot be employed in businesses that already enjoy corporate income tax exemptions under laws governing investment promotion, national competitiveness enhancement for targeted industries, or the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
The rationale behind Tax Exemptions No. 777 and No. 778 lies in the continuation of efforts initiated by the earlier Royal Decree No. 740 B.E. 2564, which promoted the development of highly skilled personnel. The government’s commitment to advancing existing skill sets and integrating new proficiencies reflects its determination to enhance national competitiveness and ensure sustainable growth. These two new decrees reinforce the nation’s dedication to enhancing its competitive edge across targeted industries.
The Thai government’s strategic initiatives to foster the development and employment of highly skilled personnel in STEM fields through tax incentives not only underscore its commitment to innovation and growth but also reflect its proactive approach to ensuring the nation’s enduring prosperity.