More than two-thirds of Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs under investigation for tax evasion have failed to pass document tests.
“But we will have to conduct physical inspections before coming to a conclusion,” Tarit Pengdith, director-general of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), said yesterday.
The papers for 264 out of 338 Mercedes-Benzes and 37 out of 46 BMWs in the probe showed signs of tax dodging, he said.
The DSI has called on the owners of 558 “imported” luxury vehicles to submit their automobiles for inspection to see if the proper taxes had been collected from them.
All of them are registered as “reassembled” in Thailand – a classification that will soon be completely banned as some car importers and buyers have reportedly claimed the vehicles are reassembled in country to avoid a higher tax rate.
“The owners should voluntarily come forward this week,” Tarit said. “After this, we will issue summons.”
The DSI estimates that more than Bt20 billion has been lost in tax-evasion schemes for cars.
The authorities started to look into the situation more seriously after doubts arose early this month as to why no one came forward to claim six luxury cars damaged in a fire while being transported through Nakhon Ratchasima last month.
A closer look revealed at least one was linked to tax-evasion.
The DSI was now going after a prime suspect, Natee Riewthong, in the Nakhon Ratchasima case.
“We are also gathering evidence to seek arrest warrants for two luxury-car importers. Both men are well-known entrepreneurs in their field,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung has lodged a police complaint against former senator Ruangkrai Leekitwattana and several newspapers for claiming he possessed a Rolls-Royce, for which proper tax may not have been paid.
“I will also sue Ruangkrai for Bt50 million. The allegation against me is completely groundless,” he said.
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