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Tax rebates begin under Thailand's first-car scheme
Publication Date : 02-10-2012
Thailand's Finance Ministry yesterday started paying tax rebates to first-car owners. So far 250,000 buyers have applied for rebates worth 18 billion baht (US$585 million).
Toyota Vios, Mazda2 and Honda Brio cars and Isuzu and Toyota pickup trucks are the preferred brands under the scheme.
The new-auto market is expected to reach an all-time high of 1.2 million units this year, thanks to stimulus programmes such as the first-car-buyer scheme as well as the launch of many new or redesigned models.
Deputy Finance Minister Viroon Tejapaibul transferred 3.56 million baht to 47 car buyers who have met the eligibility requirement of owning their car for one year.
The project started on September 16 last year and comes to an end on December 31 this year.
The Comptroller-Generals' Department transfers funds to Krung Thai Bank, which deposits the money into the accounts of the recipients every 5th and 20th of the month.
The government has set aside 7 billion baht to cover tax rebates for the new fiscal year beginning yesterday. If the budget is not enough, the government will tap the central fund to top it up.
"Don't worry about it. We have a strong fiscal position as we have treasury reserves worth more than 500 billion baht," Viroon said in response to concerns over the loss of such a large amount of tax revenue.
The incentive programme will meet the target of 500,000 units and tax rebates of about 30 billion baht, he added.
Somchai Poonsawasdi, director-general of the Excise Department, said that as of yesterday, there were 250,744 car buyers applying for 18 billion baht in tax rebates.
Passenger cars had the lion's share with 141,000 units, followed by standard pickups with 54,000. The rest are double-cab pickups.
Car sales under the scheme are expected to beat the target, he said.
According to auto companies, many buyers of B-segment cars with 1,500cc engines, double-cab pickups and eco-cars have applied for the tax rebate.
For example, 70 per cent of Toyota Vios buyers and 60 per cent of Mazda2 buyers have applied for excise-tax rebates up to the limit of 100,000 baht per car.
Eco-car buyers are also participating even though their rebates are lower because of the lower excise-tax rate on this type of vehicle. For example, Honda Brio buyers would get back slightly more than 70,000 baht.
Eco-friendly vehicles such as the Honda Jazz Hybrid, which enjoys a low 10-per cent excise rate, also qualify, with a rebate of about 50,000 baht on offer.
The government started with the target of 500,000 vehicles and 30 billion baht in rebates. However, it extended the December 31 delivery deadline to next year to help carmakers whose production suffered from parts-supply disruption caused by last year's flood, so the figures are expected to increase dramatically.