Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge Collects 98 Million Kip from Value Added Tax

Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge

The Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane, which began charging Value Added Tax on items purchased abroad last year, has secured over 98 million kip to date.

The Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge began collecting customs charges of 10 percent VAT since it tightened controls in late 2016.

According to recent statistics released by the government, some 45,026 vehicles passed the checkpoint since the new regulations were implemented in November 2016.

1,262 vehicle owners were required to pay the customs taxes of 10 percent of the value of imported goods, with customs officers at the bridge collecting tax and customs duties on imports of fuel, food products, and vehicles over a certain value.

Checks are also in place at the Thanalaeng Railway Station checkpoint.

 The tax is exempt for infrequent travelers that cross less than twice a month and bring items valued at less than US$ 50.

 According to one source, custom officers had been ordered to reach a collection target of 70 billion kip per month.

 This did not take into account consumer behavior, however, as while the number of passengers crossing the border has not changed, Lao people are now purchasing fewer items from Thailand.

The majority of trips made by Lao people crossing the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge into Thailand are now for tourism and recreational purposes.