Filing US expatriate tax returns for American expats Thailand

By Expat News

Thailand is a beautiful country that ranked first out of 31 countries popular with expats per the 2011 HSBC Expat Explorer Survey. American expats in Thailand are attracted to this exotic place for its one of the best working environments in the world, a healthy work-life balance, bigger houses, cheap accommodation and health care. The Thai tax system is not complicated, however, the Thai taxes must be taken into consideration during the US expatriate tax preparation.

Do you offer US expatriate tax services for American expats Thailand? What are foreign income tax rates in Thailand? Should expats Thailand file US expatriate tax returns as well as pay overseas taxes when they reside in Thailand? These are some of the most popular expatriate tax questions from our clients in Thailand.

Expatriate Tax Rules for Expats Thailand

American expats have to file US expatriate tax returns on overseas taxes whether they live in Bangkok or Boston.

However, there are 3 IRC provisions that American expats can use to avoid double taxation.

  • Foreign earned income exclusion. American expats Thailand can deduct  up to $101,300 for 2016 if they file US expatriate tax returns.
  • Foreign housing exclusion. Additionally, expats Thailand might deduct foreign housing expenses. Thailand is famous for its low housing costs.
  • Foreign tax credit. American expats Thailand can get a credit for foreign income taxes in Thailand.

Moreover, American expats Thailand may be required to file the FBARs as a part of US expatriate tax preparation to report foreign financial accounts.

Tax system in Thailand – FAQ

Are American expats Thailand subject to the worldwide taxation in Thailand?

American expats Thailand must pay tax on income from Thai sources. A person who derived income from abroad or property located abroad must pay tax if s/he has resided in Thailand for 180 days or more during the tax year AND s/he brought the taxable income in Thailand. Proper expatriate tax planning is recommended before moving to Thailand.

Who is considered a tax resident in Thailand?

As a general rule, American expatriate in Thailand is considered a resident if s/he has been present in Thailand for 180 days or more during the tax year.

What is the tax year in Thailand?

Thailand has a calendar tax year. This is similar to the US tax system.

What are foreign income tax rates in Thailand?

Income tax rate has a progressive scale with a maximum rate of 37% on income over 4,000,001 THB. Both residents and non-residents are entitled to personal allowance, although, in case of a non-resident the allowances for a spouse and kids are available if they are residents.

Which income is taxable in Thailand?

Generally, taxable income includes employment income in relation to Thai employment, cost-of-living allowances, home-leave payments, accommodation allowance, children’s education allowances, employer provided domestic assistance, unsubstantiated moving expenses, interest-free loans, reimbursed tax. Substantiated moving expenses and medical expenses are considered the tax-exempt income.

Can American expats in Thailand file an expatriate tax return on overseas taxes with a spouse?

A wife can file a separate return for income derived from her employment. All other income will be treated as her husband’s income.

Is it a requirement to file a tax return in Thailand and pay overseas taxes every year?

A tax return must be filed by March 31.

Does Thailand have a tax treaty or social security agreement with the USA?

The USA and Thailand signed a double tax treaty agreement in 1996. Thailand doesn’t have a totalizaiton (social security agreement) with the USA. In the future Thailand might sign a FATCA agreement with the USA.  To learn more about FATCA, please read What is FATCA. American expats in Thailand are advised to consult an expatriate tax expert to review issues related to overseas taxes.


These are some of the basic tax questions that American expats Thailand must review before filing US expatriate tax returns on overseas taxes.

Expats in Thailand who need help with US expatriate tax preparation, FATCA, FBARs, foreign tax credit or any other overseas tax issue, please seek help of an expatriate tax CPA that focuses on international tax issues. International tax experts at Artio Partners will be please to answer your questions and to assist you with other expat tax requests.