Thailand: New Thai Customs Law Now Effective

Last Updated: 5 December 2017
Article by Sumet Mingmongkolmitr

Thailand's long-standing customs law, which has been in force since 1926, has been replaced with the Customs Act B.E. 2560 (2017) effective Monday 13 November 2017. The new Act is intended to better facilitate international trade and to modernize (and simplify) Thai customs procedures.

According to Mr. Kulit Sombatsiri, the Director-General of Thai Customs Department: "The Customs Department will change its role from being a regulator to being a trade facilitator."

Key elements of the new Act include:

  • new prescription period for customs audits
  • changes to the appeals process
  • new penalty structure for violations of the Act
  • new limitation on surcharge amount
  • power to seize goods of other shipments
  • power to seize other assets
  • power to confiscate goods
  • update on return of duty

More information in relation to these changes is provided below:

(1) New prescription period for Customs audits

The new Customs Act specifies a maximum period of three (3) years for performing a customs audit after the importation date. This period may be extended by a further two (2) years with the permission of the Director-General; and by another five (5) years if there are grounds to be believe that fraud has been committed.

(2) Changes to the appeals process

In order to accelerate the appeals process, the new Customs Act permits the establishment of more than one appeals committee.

Under new Act, the appeals committee must grant its decision within 180 days of receiving a completed application (this period may be extended for a term not exceeding 90 days). If the appeals decision is not granted within the prescribed period, then the operator may take the case to Court.

The appealer is now also able to submit a request to prevent execution of payment during the appeals process. In order to do so, however, the appealer is required to deposit cash or a bank guarantee (or the equivalent amount in property) equal to the amount of the claim.

(3) New penalty structure for violations of the Act

The new Customs Act restructures the penalty system that is used in case of any violation of the Act. Key updates in this regard include:

  1. Any false declaration in a submitted customs-related document is subject to a penalty in the maximum amount of THB 500,000;
  2. Smuggling (including attempted smuggling) is subject to punishment by imprisonment for a maximum period of ten (10) years, and/or a fine of up to four (4) times the total cost of the price of the smuggled goods and the duty payable thereupon;
  3. Importing with the intention to evade paying customs duty (including attempted evasion) is subject to punishment by imprisonment for a maximum period of 10 years, and/or a fine from 0.5 times but not exceeding four times the payable deficit duty. The Court may also order the forfeiture of the goods;
  4. Importing prohibited/restricted goods (including attempted importing) is subject to punishment by imprisonment for a maximum period of 10 years, and/or a fine of up to THB 500,000.

Remark: any director, manager, or other person responsible for importing/exporting who should, but does not, prevent the violations specified under the new Customs Act are liable to be punished equally with the importer/exporter.

(4) New limitation on surcharge amount

The surcharge imposed on the deficit amount of payable duty at the rate of 1% per month is now limited to an amount that is equal to the duty deficit.

(5) Power to seize goods of other shipments

The Director-General of the Thai Customs Department has the power to seize goods of other shipments to pay outstanding duty. This power appears in the old Customs Act; however, its reiteration in the new Act suggests that it may be utilized more frequently.

(6) Power to seize other assets

If the value of the goods of other shipments that are seized (as per (5) above) are insufficient to pay the outstanding duty, then the Director-General is authorized to issue an order to confiscate or seize any other assets of the operator to pay the amount of insufficient duty;

(7) Power to confiscate goods

In addition to being authorized to seize goods, customs officials are now able to confiscate goods in the following specific circumstances as well:

  1. In case of any delay in exporting goods after export declaration and failure to remedy the delay within a specified period;
  2. Goods in transit: (i) that are intended to be used for terrorist (or terrorist-related) purposes; (ii) that may impact public order/peace or international safety and security; (iii) whose declared country of origin is forged; (iv) that are in violation of laws concerning the transfer/transit of goods;
  3. Containers/packages of goods that are under the protection of the Customs Department, which are relocated without the permission of a customs officer;
  4. Goods that are under the protection of the Customs Department, which are compiled, designated, divided, relocated, or repackaged before having been inspected by a customs officer;
  5. Ships that move goods in violation of laws concerning the transfer/transit of goods; and
  6. Goods that are imported in violation of customs law by the evasion of duty or by being prohibited, restricted, or smuggled goods.

(8) Update on return of duty

If an operator pays duty in excess of the required amount, then the operator may request for the return of such overpaid duty within three (3) years of the importation/exportation date, with interest at the rate of 0.625% per month.

Under the new Customs Act, the Customs Department also offers the following facilities to operators:

HS codes verification

The Thai Customs Department has created a mobile application "HS Check," which makes available precedent rulings on HS codes verification to operators for preliminary reference when determining HS codes for their products; and

HS codes consultation

The option to request for HS codes confirmation prior to importation is still available.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions