Banks in Thailand are modern, reliable and easily accessible, and English-speaking personnel can be found in most main branches. Opening a bank account in Thailand is also a straightforward process. ATMs are widely available, and expats who stay in the country for a longer time can apply for local credit.

Most expats will be relieved to learn that Thailand has signed double-taxation avoidance agreements with several governments. It should also be relatively simple for expats who retire in Thailand to access their pensions.

Money in Thailand

The official currency in Thailand is the Baht (THB), which is issued by the Bank of Thailand. One baht is subdivided into 100 satangs.

•    Notes: 20 THB, 50 THB, 100 THB, 500 THB and 1,000 THB
•    Coins: 1 satang, 5 satang, 10 satang, 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 THB, 2 THB, 5 THB and 10 THB

Banking in Thailand

Setting up a bank account in Thailand is fairly easy for expats. Technically, foreigners are required to present a work permit at the point of opening, but in practice, some branches will open an account for a foreigner without this document. Typically, expats must provide their proof of identification, address and income and fill out the required forms to open a bank account in Thailand.

For those living in Thailand without a work permit, some banks may reject a request to open an account. That said, a different branch of the same bank may approve the request, so it is worthwhile to keep trying other branches.

Sometimes, documentation which needs to be signed will be written in Thai, but a translated copy in English can be requested. Expats should note that, in some cases, the type of bank account available to them will depend on the type of visa they hold.

Credit cards and ATMs

Expats can get a credit card from a Thai bank, but this is sometimes a difficult task. Requirements vary between banks, but most, if not all, require a work permit, ideally one which has been held for a significant length of time. There is also a required minimum income, and bank statements for a specified period must be provided. The longer an expat has been a client of a Thai bank, the better their chances are of successfully applying for a credit card.

All major banks have easily locatable ATMs throughout the country. Some banks charge a flat monthly fee for ATM usage, and others charge per transaction, sometimes with the bonus of a certain number of free transactions within a particular period.

Taxes in Thailand

Expat tax laws differ slightly for residents and non-residents in Thailand. Expats who ordinarily live in Thailand less than 180 days a year are classified as non-residents for tax purposes. They can therefore only be taxed on income derived from within Thailand, and income from outside of Thailand is not taxed. If classified as a resident, however, expats are taxed both on income derived in Thailand and on income brought into Thailand from foreign sources.

Income tax rates in Thailand are progressive and range from 0 percent to 35 percent for those who earn above a certain threshold. Thailand has signed tax treaties with several countries worldwide, preventing double taxation for many expats. Tax returns are submitted annually. Tax forms are usually in Thai, so it is advisable to hire a Thai tax planner or a financial adviser to assist with this.

Expat Health Insurance

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