BOI TISO: An Alternative to Traditional BOI Promotions

BOI TISO: An Alternative to Traditional BOI Promotions

Table of Contents

Introduction

The Thai Board of Investment (BOI) offers a variety of promotions to encourage businesses to invest in Thailand, including possible tax breaks, expedited work permit processing, and, most importantly, 100% foreign ownership. However, some businesses may not be eligible for a traditional BOI procedure due to industry, size, or other factors.

The Trade and Investment Support Office promotion is a great alternative for companies not eligible for traditional BOI promotions. While Trade and Investment Support Office promotions offer less in the way of incentives than traditional BOI promotions, the ability to achieve 100% foreign ownership is still possible.

Key Points

  • Trade and Investment Support Office promotions allow for 100% foreign ownership
  • Trade and Investment Support Office is a good alternative for companies as it covers various activities not covered by traditional BOI promotions.
  • Tax incentives ARE NOT available to Trade and Investment Support Office -promoted companies

What is the Trade and Investment Support Office?

A TISO is a special business type promoted by the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI). It is not a specific industry or type of business activity but rather a collection of businesses seen as potentially helpful for trade and investment in Thailand. This makes the Trade and Investment Support Office promotion category flexible, as business owners in many fields may be eligible.

However, because the Trade and Investment Support Office category is so broad, the BOI has set a requirement that businesses must have annual expenditures of at least 10 million THB to qualify. This ensures that only businesses likely to impact trade and investment significantly are eligible for the promotion.

What are the differences between a BOI promotion and a BOI TISO promotion?

The main difference between a BOI promotion and a BOI Trade and Investment Support Office promotion is that BOI promotions offer tax benefits for certain business activities, while BOI TISO promotions do not. 

BOI promotions are typically more competitive and require businesses to meet more stringent eligibility criteria. BOI Trade and Investment Support Office promotions, on the other hand, are less competitive and have more flexible eligibility criteria.

Please see below for a table that summarizes the key differences between BOI promotions and BOI Trade and Investment Support Office promotions:

CharacteristicBOI PromotionTISO Promotion
Tax benefitsYes (depending on the business activity)No
100% foreign ownershipYesYes
Ease for obtaining a work permit and visaYesYes
Ability to own landYesYes
EligibilityStrictLess strict and includes service activities
Timeline3 to 9 months3 to 6 months

What are the advantages of a Trade and Investment Support Office promotion?

While a Trade and Investment Support Office promotion does not offer tax benefits, it still provides several significant advantages for foreign investors, including:

  • 100% foreign ownership of the promoted company
  • Potential for land ownership, limited to:
    • 5 rai (1 rai =1,600 sqm) for office space
    • 1 rai for executive and expert residences
    • 2 rai for employee residences
  • Expedited visa and work permit processing through the One-Stop Service Centre.

What business activities are eligible for a BOI Trade and Investment Support Office promotion?

The following business activities are eligible for a this promotion: 

  • Monitoring and/or servicing associated enterprises, please note, this includes providing or renting out offices or factory buildings to associated enterprises and lending to associated enterprises outside the scope of a treasury center and can be implemented under the exchange control laws; 
  • Advisory services on business operations, except those buying and selling securities and foreign currency exchange. Please note for accounting, legal, advertising, architectural, and civil engineering businesses, the business license must be obtained from the Department of Business Development or related governmental agencies before submitting the investment promotion application; 
  • Information services on goods sourcing; 
  • Engineering and technical services, except those related to architecture and civil engineering; 
  • Business activities related to machinery, engines, tools, and equipment, such as:
    • importing for wholesaling; 
    • training services; 
    • installation, 
    • maintenance, and 
    • repair and calibration. 
  • Wholesaling products manufactured in Thailand and 
  • International business process outsourcing, whose services are provided through telecommunication networks, such as:
    • administrative services, 
    • finance and accounting services, 
    • human resource services, 
    • sales and marketing services, 
    • customer services, 
    • data processing, etc. 

What are the requirements for a company to apply for a TISO?

Due to the broad base of activities for a Trade and Investment Support Office promotion, the BOI has set a requirement that businesses must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Undertake one of the business activities mentioned above.
  • Have an annual selling and administrative expenses of at least THB 10 million (approx. EUR 300,000); and 
  • Have a business plan and scope of business approved by the BOI. 
  • The minimum capital the BOI requires is at least 1 million baht; however, the required amount could be more depending on BOI requirements.

As part of the Trade and Investment Support Office application process, applicants must submit their annual selling and administrative expenses, typically in the form of the company’s latest audited financial statements. Additionally, any qualifying company must apply for an Operating License from the BOI within 3 years of being granted a Trade and Investment Support Office promotion.

This ensures that only businesses likely to impact trade and investment significantly are eligible for the Trade and Investment Support Office promotion.

Our Thoughts

A Trade and Investment Support Office promotion from the BOI can help foreign investors not eligible for a regular BOI promotion establish and operate their businesses in Thailand more efficiently and effectively. For example, 100% foreign ownership can provide greater control and flexibility, while land ownership can help to secure a long-term presence in the country. Additionally, the expedited visa and work permit process can reduce administrative burdens and ensure staff can start working quickly.

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Should your questions require additional research, our experts will delve deeper and follow up with further insights via email.

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