Business licensing in Bangkok
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
How do I know if I'm running a business?
You are in business if your activity, as a whole, is commercial with an aim to make a profit. If you are undertaking the activity for commercial reasons, with the main intention or purpose to make a profit, and if you undertake the activity regularly and repeatedly, you are likely to be running a business.
Examples of where a person would be seen to be running a business:
- I am a professional chef and I want to occasionally provide experiences which involve me providing private cooking lessons and introducing guests to my local market.
- I am a non-professional photographer. I provide experiences involving photography lessons and guided visits of my area. I do this on a regular basis.
An example of where a person may not be seen to be running a business:
- I am a keen cyclist who is active in the Bangkok cycling community. I want to provide an experience, as a one-off thing, where I offer guests the opportunity to join our cycling community during their stay.
What legal structure could I choose to use?
There are a number of legal structures you can choose when starting your business. The three main structures commonly used by small/family-run businesses in Thailand are (a) sole proprietorship, (b) partnership and (c) private limited company. A public company may also be a choice for a larger scale business operation.
More information on the different types of business entities is available here.
Do any business registration or licensing obligations apply?
If you intend to operate as a sole proprietor, you are not required to register as a business entity (however, you will still need to register for a taxpayer number and may need to obtain a commercial registration, see below).
If you intend to operate as a partnership or company, you will have to register your business entity with the Department of Business Development (DBD) of the Ministry of Commerce (MOC). You will also have to comply with relevant provisions in the Civil and Commercial Code.
Apart from business registration, whether you are a sole proprietor, partnership or company, you must acquire a taxpayer number and register for the relevant taxes (including value added tax, special business tax and/or withholding tax) from the Revenue Department. Please visit the Revenue Department website for further information and online registration In addition, you may require a “commercial registration” from the DBD for certain types of businesses, for example, sale of food and beverages. It would be a good idea to check with the Revenue Department and DBD for the registration requirements applicable to you.
If you are a non-Thai national or majority foreign-owned partnership or company, note that you will be subject to foreign ownership restrictions under the Foreign Business Act. In particular, you will need a licence from the DBD to operate a tour agency, engage in food and beverage sales, as well as in services businesses. You can find out more information here.
Foreign nationals working in Thailand (with or without remuneration) are also required to obtain a work permit.
Is there anything I need to be aware of when dealing with consumers?
If you are providing any kind of commercial services to consumers, the Consumer Protection Act will apply to your provision of those services. Under the Consumer Protection Act, the consumer has the following protection rights:
- The right to receive correct and sufficient information and description as to the quality of goods or services.
- The right to enjoy freedom in the choice of goods or services.
- The right to expect safety in the use of goods or services.
- The right to receive a fair contract.
- The right to be compensated for any damage/injury.
Please visit the Consumer Protection Board website for further information.
Is there anything else I should be thinking about?
Yes. Depending on the activity you will be providing or organising, you may need to register, obtain licences, or follow specific rules that apply to that activity. Our sections on activity specific licensing requirements and rules covers some of the typical activities, but they are not intended to be comprehensive. You should always check the position with your local counsel or seek advice from a legal professional.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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