Tilleke & Gibbins
Can anyone (including foreigners) own and occupy real estate in your jurisdiction (including shares in property owning companies)? Are there any restrictions?
Foreigners (individuals or companies) are prohibited from owning land, unless they obtain permission from the relevant governmental authorities. A company registered in Thailand will be regarded as a Thai company and may own land if the majority of its shares are held by Thai nationals and the majority ratio of shareholders are Thai nationals.
Foreigners are allowed to own condominium units, provided that they are qualified under Section 19 of the Condominium Act B.E. 2522 (1979) and foreign ownership in a given condominium project does not exceed 49% of the total area of all the condominium units in the project, and the foreign purchaser presents the requisite evidence specified by the Department of Land.
Are there restrictions on lending for the purchase of real estate by foreign companies? If so briefly give an outline?
There are no restrictions on lending money to a company to purchase immovable property in Thailand. However, as mentioned above, foreigners (individuals or companies) are prohibited from owning land unless they have permission from the relevant governmental authorities. Nevertheless, qualified foreigners are allowed to own a condominium unit.
Please provide a short summary of the fees and costs (including tax) relating to buying real estate in your jurisdiction.
If the seller is a juristic person/company, the purchase will incur the following fees when the transfer of ownership is registered:
- Transfer Fee of 2% of the official appraised value, assessed by the relevant Land Office. Both parties are equally responsible for this fee, unless otherwise agreed.
- Corporate Income Tax as a withholding tax at 1% of the sale price, or the official appraised value, whichever is greater.
- Specific Business Tax (SBT) at 3.3% of the selling price, or the official appraisal price, whichever is greater.
Items 2 and 3 are borne by the seller unless otherwise agreed.
Are there taxes applicable to owning real estate and can the burden of the taxes be passed to someone else (e.g. a tenant or an occupier - not being the owner)?
Both individual and juristic persons who have ownership, possessory rights, or usage rights over land or buildings (including condominium units) as of January 1 of each year will be required to pay land and building tax to the local administrative authorities. Unless clearly specified by the law, the owner of the land or building is liable for the land and building tax.
The land and building tax is in the range of 0.15%-1.20% of the official assessed price of the property, depending on the purpose of use of the property (i.e., agricultural, residential, other purposes, and vacant/unused).
Are there tax breaks or other incentives for foreigners to buy real estate in your jurisdiction? If so what are they?
How is the ownership of Real Estate evidenced in your jurisdiction?
Land transactions must be registered at the Land Office in the province where the land is located. All land transactions should be recorded in a written document, have ownership or possession documentation, and be registered. Under Thai law, there are various documents pertaining to land title or claim. These documents vary in strength, ranging from a title deed (chanote) at the highest level representing full and complete ownership rights, to a Sor. Kor. 1 Form, which does not represent any ownership right of land but is a mere notice of possession of land.
Is it possible to keep the identity of owners of real estate confidential in your jurisdiction?
No. As mentioned above, any transaction over property must be recorded with the Land Office, and they are deemed as public records. Any interested party can therefore obtain the information pertaining to the property, including the name of the property owner, from the Land Office.