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Open a Bar in Thailand

Open a Bar in Thailand

Thailand is a popular tourist destination and many entrepreneurs are looking for investment ideas that would help them attract both local and foreign clients. A bar can be an interesting and successful business idea when it is set up according to the laws in force and by carefully observing the Foreign Business Act when the bar is set up by expats or foreign investors.

In order to open a bar in Thailand, foreign citizens need to have a Thai partner who must own 51% of the business. On the other hand, opening a bar in Thailand means respecting the rules and the regulations as for opening any kind of business in the country. It is good to know that you will need a Thai liquor license to sell any type of beverages. Our experts in company formation in Thailand can offer proper assistance and guidelines if you want to open a bar in Thailand.

Opening and running a bar in Thailand will imply a number of costs and the establishment will need to function with the proper licenses. Managing the bar, hiring dependable employees and being able to attract clients are other issues to take into consideration once the business has started.

Below, our team of Thai company formation agents answers some of the common questions about starting this type of business. Please keep in mind that if you have additional questions you can always reach out to us.

What are the requirements to open a bar in Thailand?

Opening a bar in Thailand can be a fruitful business for all foreigners who wish to settle in the country and make profits. There are certain conditions and requirements you need to consider when deciding to open a bar in Thailand. If you want to speed up the preparation of the documents, you can solicit help and guidance from our company registration agents in Thailand. Please consider the following steps to set up your business:

•    a unique business name: you must reserve a name for your bar in Thailand;
•    the bank account: you need to open a bank account and to have at least BHT 2,000,000 minimum share capital;
•  company formation: you must prepare the company’s articles of association and gather the needed documents;

•  tax registration: you will need to register the business for VAT with the Thai authorities in charge;
•  collect the business license: the Trade Register in Thailand will evaluate the documents and register the company.

Registering the company is only the first step when opening a bar or a restaurant in Thailand. One important aspect that needs to be handled is to obtain a special liquor license. This is a process that is subject to a number of regulations and it is recommended that foreign investors reach out to our team of Thai company formation agents during this step. One of our specialists can handle the submission as the appointee of the company owner as sometimes this can be useful when dealing with the Thai authorities, as opposed to when the foreign entrepreneur himself would make the application. 

Private companies in Thailand need to follow clear rules on annual financial reporting, preparing and submitting the annual income tax report, as well as making the needed tax payments and meeting the filing deadlines. With the help of our Thai accountants, you can make sure that your bar meets all of the relevant accounting standards. You can reach out to us for more details about our services.

How is the liquor license obtained?

The Thai liquor permit is necessary if you want to sell alcoholic beverages in the country, no matter if you set up a restaurant or you open a bar in Thailand. The District Office in Thailand is in charge of issuing the liquor licenses after examining certain documents like:

•    the company’s documents, including VAT certificate;
•    the location’s lease or rental documents;
•    identification documents of the bar owners who want to sell alcoholic beverages;
•    proforma invoice;
•    power of attorney.

One should know that the liquor license in Thailand is available for one year, with the possibility of renewing it within 30 days before the expiration date. When preparing the documents, you should consider translating them in the Thai language. The permit for selling alcoholic beverages in Thai bars or restaurants will be granted if the Ministry of Industry considers the alcoholic degree of every beverage conforms with the Industrial Standards in Thailand. When submitting the documents, a BHT 200 fee must be paid. More importantly, there are regulations as to the positioning of the bar. For example, it is prohibited to open such an establishment within the close proximity of a school, and if this is the case, the applicant is likely to have his application rejected. Thus, choosing the location of the future bar is very important.

Another aspect that needs to be taken into consideration is how the alcohol will be supplied to the bar. Owners have the option of working with one supplier (which may lead to preferential prices but can mean that the types of products are limited) or purchase freely, at different prices but with no restriction in terms of the brands sold. 

As a reminder, the company registration in Thailand implies the main stages needed for registering most of the businesses available in the country. If you want to open a company in Thailand, do not hesitate to solicit our help.

We invite you to watch a video about opening a bar in Thailand:

What to take into consideration when opening a Thai bar?

Apart from the licensing and supplying for the bar, as well as the actual Thailand company formation process, other issues need to be addressed and decided upon when opening a bar in Thailand.

The location of the bar and its size are important features to decide upon when starting this type of business. Depending on the area where they are located, bars can be small establishments that only offer the drinks or they can also provide seating on location. As stated above, entrepreneurs can decide to offer a wide variety of drinks or only a selection of local beers. The decision is commonly linked to the type of bar. Wooden bars or concrete bars are common for the small or medium varieties, however, investors who wish to open a permanent establishment will need to rent a location for this purpose and make any necessary conversions to the building. 

Hiring employees in Thailand in another important aspect that needs to be taken into consideration. This is important because as per the applicable laws, the employees will need to be Thai and they can be foreign nationals only in some cases. Employment can be permanent or part-time. One of our agents can give you separate details on hiring foreigners in Thailand and the special visa considerations. 

In some cases, foreign investors can purchase a bar in Thailand. Because of the foreign investment laws, this is only a lease from the Thai owner and the foreign one will still need to pay the rent and the expenses, which will depend on the area in which the bar is located and whether or not there are other facilities on the location. When deciding to invest in an already existing bar, it is highly recommended to reach out to a team of specialists in order to perform due diligence. 

Why open a bar in Thailand?

Thailand offers many business opportunities in many important fields. Tourism is extremely developed and many people enjoy visiting different cities and discovering cultures and traditions. When dealing with a well-advanced sector, you should offer as many possibilities as you can. A restaurant or a bar in Thailand that offers numerous delicacies encountered and known worldwide should be a great choice and a suitable opportunity to make profits. Besides that, the company registration in Thailand is not as complicated, especially when investors request the aid provided by a team of specialists, such as our incorporation agents. 

Opening a bar can imply a number of investments and the success of the location will rely heavily on its positioning in the city, the décor and design, the drinks and the prices and, when applicable, the food. When all of these issues are addressed, investors will also need to carefully plan the marketing strategies in order to attract customers, which may tourists, expats or locals. 

You may receive additional information about how to open a bar in Thailand if you get in touch with our company formation representatives in Thailand.

Corporate taxation for bars in Thailand

Companies in Thailand are subject to the corporate income tax along with other types of taxes. This applies both to locally incorporated companies as well as foreign ones doing business in the country. Investors who open a bar in Thailand using a franchise model will also be subject to the usual taxation rules.

The following list presented by our company formation agents in Thailand includes the main taxes for companies:

  • Corporate income tax: 20% with lower progressive rates for smaller businesses.
  • Capital gains tax: 20%.
  • Withholding tax: 10% for dividends paid to another Thai company; 15% on the interest paid to a non-resident company; 3% advance withholding tax for royalties paid to another Thai company.
  • Real property tax: 12.%% on the appraised rental value of the property; the maximum tax rate can depend on the type of land or building.
  • Social security: 5% contribution of the employee’s monthly salary both by the employer and the employee himself; a certain monthly cap applies.
  • Stamp duty: 0.1%: on leases, transfer of shares and in other cases.
  • Specific business tax: applicable to banking and similar transactions as well as the gross proceeds from the transfer of immovable property (in which case the rate is 3%).
  • VAT: a standard rate of 10% with some types of goods and services being subject to a 0% rate (for example, in the case of exported goods and services).

Our team can provide more details on the applicable taxes as well as the incentives that may be available to companies.

Annual accounting and reporting for bars in Thailand

As far as the accounting and reporting requirements are concerned, the tax year in Thailand will generally coincide with the calendar year, with the taxable period ending on 31 December. However, companies are allowed to choose other accounting periods provided that they do not exceed this 12-month period (as an exception, a shorter accounting year is allowed in the year of incorporation).

A self-assessment system is the base of filing and payment in Thailand. The annual corporate income tax return is filed within 150 days from the end of the accounting period and the corporate tax payment takes place at the same time. This is the end of year payment, however, a mid-year one is also due and it takes place within two months of the end of the first half (six months) of the accounting period. Companies that fail to properly estimate their profits for a year (by more than 25%) are subject to a fine that is to be charged in the middle of the year installment (a fine that has a value of maximum 20%).

When preparing the financial statements, companies use the Thai Financial Reporting Standards. In the case of private or public limited companies, the Board of Directors is required to prepare a financial statement at least every 12 months. This contains a summary of the assets and the liabilities of the company as well as a profit and loss statement for the respective fiscal year. A certified public accountant is required to sign the statement and it is to be submitted to the Department of Business Development using an electronic system. Public limited companies are subject to slightly different rules as they must also disclose information about the shares that have been issued and those that are held in subsidiaries (if applicable), along with other relevant data. Investors who incorporate a private or public company in order to open a bar in Thailand will be required to observe these requirements.

One of our Thai company formation specialists can provide investors with more details regarding the annual accounting, filing and auditing requirements for bars.

Investments in Thailand

Thailand remains an attractive destination for foreign investment because of its very well developed tourism sector. Foreign direct investment is promoted, albeit there are some conditions applicable to foreign entrepreneurs and some sectors that remain under control or restriction (such as transport) because of cultural or other reasons. The Board of Investment is the main agency in charge of promoting foreign direct investments and most foreign businesses do not require special approvals from this Board before they can commence (under the condition that they have obtained all of the required permits for their particular business field). Our team of agents presents the following key statistical indicators (according to data offered by the Board of Investment):

  • 758: total number of investment projects between January and June 2019;
  • 468: total number of foreign investment projects;
  • 232,609 million Baht: total investment value during the same period;

Investors who wish to know more about how to open a company in Thailand, open a bar or restaurant as well as other types of businesses, can contact us.