The Central Tax Court in Thailand

Rationale

By nature, a tax case is not an ordinary civil matter. It is essentially a dispute on a certain provision or detail between a taxpayer and the tax agency of the government, often involving tax administration. Tax cases emanate from different laws and disciplines like economics and its systems and the principles of intellectual property. Tax disputes almost naturally involve tax collection that just as naturally affects national revenue and public interest unavoidably.  

In response to the need to manage tax cases, the government enacted the Establishment of, and Procedures for, the Tax Court on September 5, 1985. This Act set up the tax division within 240 days from the publication of the Act in the Royal Gazette. This division operated separately but under the Civil Court on and from March 25, 1985 until replaced by the Central Court of Thailand in August, 1986 under the same Act.

Jurisdiction

Established in Metropolitan Bangkok and inaugurated by Royal decree, the Central Tax Court exercises authority over tax cases throughout Bangkok Metropolis and the provinces of Samutprakarn, Samutsakorn, Nakorn Pathom, Nonthaburi and Pathumthani. Tax cases outside this jurisdiction may still be filed with it and it reserves the right to take or reject them unless officially transferred to it by the provisions of the Act or that of the Civil Procedure Code.  

The Central Tax Court is at the Civil Court building on  Ratchadapisek Road, Chomphon  Sub-district of the Chatuchak District in Bangkok.

An Act must create provincial tax courts and state their jurisdiction, which may cover different provinces.

Only a tax court that has been inaugurated is the only court of first instance that can accept and adjudicate cases within its jurisdiction. If there is confusion as to jurisdiction of any tax court or another court of justice over a particular case, the President of the Supreme Court shall decide and the decision shall be final.

If the litigants of a pending case at a provincial tax court wish to have it transferred to the Central Tax Court, the provincial tax court may do so only with the permission of the Central Tax Court

Applicable Cases

  • Appeal against a taxation verdict rendered by a competent authority in the field;
  • State claims over tax debts;
  • Tax refunds;
  • Right or duty arising from an obligation to collect taxes; and
  • All others prescribed by tax courts as within their jurisdiction.

Clarifications

Appeals against a taxation decision or order rendered by a competent authority can be filed if the proceeding has already been performed according to the prescribed rules, methods and period for them or the appeals have already been decided.

Similarly, appeals for tax refunds may not be filed at the tax court only if the initial proceedings for them have already been performed according to the prescribed rules, methods and periods for them.

Composition of the Tax Courts

A Chief Justice and deputy justices head the Central Tax Court. The Minister of Justice determines the number of deputy chief justices. Only one Chief Judge shall head each provincial tax court. The King shall appoint all of them from among the judicial officials rendering judicial service who possess the qualifying expertise and expertise in taxation. Tax disputes must, therefore be assigned to the judges with specific or precise expertise and experience in the given issue. This will assure an accurate, just and prompt verdict. Furthermore, two judges must be present during trial and to adjudicate. In addition to adjudication, a tax court judge is authorized to issue any order or conduct any proceeding.

Procedure

All the proceedings in handling cases at the tax courts shall follow the provisions of this Act as set forth under Section 20. Otherwise, such proceedings shall comply with those of the Civil Procedure Code mutatis mutandis.

Either litigant may appoint a resident within the jurisdiction of the tax court to receive pleadings or any document for the litigant. The litigant must first request the competent court and obtain its approval before an outside party may receive pleadings or documents for a litigant. A similar request may be made if the litigant does not reside or operate a business within the jurisdiction of the tax court where the litigant’s case is filed. For convenience, the court may then order the litigant to appoint a resident within the jurisdiction to receive documents in his or her behalf. If the litigant refuses or does not take the option, a notice may be posted at the court about the documents. If the concerned party does not respond to the notice to collect the documents after seven days of posting, he or she will be notified by other means. The service shall be similar to that provided under the Civil Procedure Code. Service by other means shall lapse after 15 days.

The tax court has the power to reduce or increase the period of the trial according to this Act.  For convenience, fairness and judiciousness,  the Chief Justice of the Central Tax Court with the approval of the President of the Supreme Court may issue rules on proceedings and the trial of evidence. These rules will become effective upon publication at the Royal Gazette.

The tax court or the Supreme Court may ask any expert or knowledgeable person for his or her opinion during trial for the court’s consideration. For their part, litigants may also call experts or knowledgeable witnesses or any individual for his or her opinion during trial.

The expert or knowledgeable person who is invited by the tax court or the Supreme Court is entitled to an allowance and expenses for transportation and accommodations. This is in accordance with the regulations by the Ministry of Justice.

More on Appeals

Appeals must be filed with the Supreme Court within a month upon the handing of a verdict or order.

Appeals shall be made only on questions of fact when the asset or disputed amount is not more than 50,000 baht. This is so when the judge issues a dissenting opinion or certified to a ground for appeal. If he did not, an appeal must secure the approval of the Chief Justice of the Central Tax Court.

The provisions of the Civil Procedure Code apply to an appeal involving an order for the imprisonment, detention or fine of a person under the Civil Procedure Code provisions. They also apply to an appeal against an order for provisional measures before a verdict or its execution.     

The President of the Supreme Court shall establish a tax section at the Supreme Court to try appeals from the tax court. He may also consider it appropriate for judges to decide questions of law of tax cases at a general meeting.

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