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Thaksin lodges an appeal over Bt17-bn tax bill

Submission by ex-PM now means case may not be heard in court for two years.

FORMER PRIME Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has appealed his Bt17.6-billion tax bill, so his alleged tax-evasion case will likely not reach the tax court for about two years.
Prasong Poontaneat, director-general of the Revenue Department, said the ex-premier’s legal team had submitted a petition for a review on Tuesday, which was before the 30-day deadline.
A local revenue chief will chair a committee of experts to review the back-tax appraisal in which the agency is seeking Bt17.6 million in back-taxes resulting from the sale of Shin Corp’s shares to Temasek Group of Singapore in 2006.
Prasong said the review would be completed within two years after which the case would likely go to the central tax court.
A Finance Ministry source said the Revenue Department has a 50-50 chance of winning the case in court since there is no precedent for invoking Article 61 of the Revenue Code to collect back taxes allegedly owed to the agency as in this case.
However, legal experts believe it is possible to levy back-taxes on the capital gain from the multibillion-baht deal by issuing the tax appraisal as the agency did recently and this should be done to prevent future cases of abuse.
It will depend on the court’s judgement whether it is legal for the Revenue Department to do so, while the ex-premier’s legal team has argued that the net proceeds were not taxable in this case.
Earlier, the court ruled that Thaksin owned the Shin Corp shares worth Bt73 billion that were sold to Temasek in 2006, even though his children were nominees holding the shares on his behalf. 
The government then renewed its bid to collect back taxes from Thaksin just before the case’s statute of limitations was about to expire. 
The Revenue Department had been reluctant to pursue the case until it was ordered by the government to issue the back tax appraisal last month.

Published : April 28, 2017