How to Register a Sole Proprietorship in Thailand
Need help onboarding international talent?
You can choose from many different types of company structures if you want to register a business in Thailand. In this article, we'll make sure you understand the steps of registering as self-employed.
In Thailand, like in many countries, this business form is called sole proprietorship. A sole proprietorship is the simplest legal form that can be used for the purpose of doing business and collaborating with companies as independent contractors.
Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.
Sole proprietorship in Thailand
As almost everywhere, a sole proprietorship in Thailand is owned and operated by a single person with unlimited liability. Also, sole proprietorships can be run by a person who is engaged in any business type as long as those are permitted by law. Unlimited liability means that a proprietor's personal assets and actions are attached to the sole proprietor's business, which may be used to cover liabilities in the event of legal action.
Your nationality will determine whether or not you're able to register a sole trader business structure in Thailand. A US citizen, for example, is able to register a sole proprietorship because of the Treaty of Amity between Thailand and the United States. Nationals of other countries may find that some business structures are restricted to them.
Requirements for registering as a sole proprietor in Thailand
You should start the registration process by registering the name of your entity. It usually takes one or two days for this process to be finished. Your company's name has to be unique, and you will be asked to write down three names you have chosen and rank them by your preference. Also, the name you have chosen cannot be related to the names of governmental units, royal family, or anything against Thailand's public morals. Once you successfully register your name, you can move forward to the next step in the process.
Certificate of Corporation
When the company name is approved, the next procedure is getting a certificate of incorporation issued by the Department of Business Development (DBD). For incorporation of your company in Thailand, you will need to prepare the following documents:
- Company name certificate
- Copy of your Identification document or passport
- Short description of your business activities
- The company address (you can use your residence address)
- Bank account certificate (you can request it at the bank where you chose to open an account for your business)
The e-Registration process has been provided by the DBD since 2017, so you can finish the business registration fast. Just make sure that you have all the required documents before you start with the registration. Unfortunately, e-registration is not available in English, so if you aren't a Thai speaker, you should have a translator who will help you with the process. Your business will be registered in a very short time, and you will be sent the Certificate of incorporation to your address.
You can also apply for registration at a commercial office in the business area. It takes a little longer for the officers to complete validation, but the Certificate should also be delivered to your address in a few days.
Taxes and VAT in Thailand
There are excellent taxation conditions for sole traders in Thailand. Firstly, they don’t need to obtain VAT unless the annual income of taxable goods or service providers is higher than 1,800,000 Baht.
Sole proprietorships in Thailand aren't subject to corporate taxation as a juristic person because they are registered as natural persons. As a natural person, everyone has to pay the income tax, which is calculated on the net business profit. The company is released from the income tax if annual income is lower than 150,000 Baht but can go up to 35% if the annual income is over 5,000,000 Baht.
The current standard rate is 7%.