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What actually happens to people caught working online?


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7 minutes ago, Crabsticks said:

Thanks. When they say:

 

Digital nomads who travel through Thailand and stay for 3 – 6 months at a time and then head off elsewhere are likely to avoid these kinds of problems.

 

That's more like my normal situation (don't even stay that long in fact) but this trip is different because of covid. Maybe you cross a line when you go over 6 months..

 

I believe you have nothing to worry about, Covid has made a lot of people stay longer than normal, as many have said, if you keep it to yourself, no one is going to knock on your door.

 

If your work involves work within Thailand, be it fixing computers or doing physical work for Thai's, then you have a problem, if not, then just keep on keeping on.

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If you're not involved with Thai clients or suppliers and payments are made outside Thailand, then nothing.

They go to virtual jail .  LOL Seriously. What Jingthing said. 

I think by nature of the work, hardly anyone working online without customers or employees in Thailand simply won't get caught.   It seems that the people working online who do have problems

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6 minutes ago, 4MyEgo said:

Any income outside of my home country is classed as worldwide income and tax has to be paid on it, however if there is a double treaty with that country you are working in and have paid tax in that country, you apparently receive a tax credit, too complicated for me, so I just pay tax back in the home country as per the legislation, as it states...

I wasn't saying you were wrong, just that my situation is different. Would it bother you if the tax authorities in your country knew you had been working in Thailand?

 

5 minutes ago, 4MyEgo said:

If your work involves work within Thailand, be it fixing computers or doing physical work for Thai's, then you have a problem, if not, then just keep on keeping on.

It doesn't, there's no connection with Thailand except for the fact I am physically here.

 

8 minutes ago, 4MyEgo said:

if not, then just keep on keeping on.

I haven't started yet - still in ASQ. Could be the cabin fever making me paranoid. I could just drop the work but it will be difficult to pick it back up if I do that, so effectively that's complete retirement before I'm ready.

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1 hour ago, owl sees all said:

Another point to consider is whether the farang is helping someone do work, or obtain an income.

 

If - for instance - a farang is driving his wife around the villages selling fish or eggs, is interpreted as work that a Thai could do. Of course the argument could be that without the wife and husband working together there would be no business; or earnings.

 

However; many of these fine print details get overlooked (or otherwise) at the whim of an authority.

 

For the record, I drive my wife around in the morning to drop off her products to sell at a couple of places, I am an unpaid driver, I also drive my wife to the shops to do shopping for us to eat, now if Thailand thinks I am taking a job away from a Thai because they think that my wife would otherwise employ a driver to do the job, then that would just show how thick they are because if my wife had to employ a driver to take her to drop off her products, she might as well shut up shop so to speak because her income would go to zero pretty much, you see who do they think pays for petrol, services, registration, maintenance of the vehicle, not to mention insurance and wear and tear, oh lets not forget the electricity for her to make her products.

 

Seriously, if I was going to worry about such nonsense, I might as well move back to the old country where she would make a hell of a lot more than what she is making here, but the little she makes gives her that independence to buy what she wants, and reduces my out of pocket expenses, albeit it she doesn't need to do it. 

Edited by 4MyEgo
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1 hour ago, Peter Denis said:

I surely agree with your conclusion.

And it sounds logical and I think that you are indeed correct that a work-permit is required to do any work that brings in an income.

However, I read several posts on the Forum that the criterion was not so much interpreted by some IOs as generating income, but whether the work you are doing could be done by a Thai.  And that people doing work in their own or wife's home, e.g. renovating, or doing work for a friend, might get in trouble for doing that when a vindictive neighbor reports them to Immigration.

Also read that doing on-line work with no Thai connection, is not allowed but tolerated, which sounds logical to me.

Correct, the point is doing work that could be done by a Thai citizen.

IOs - management of this subject falls under the ministry of labour, not immigration. But if immigration discovers your working on say a tourist visa then you have broken the law in regard to your visa and there could be consequences.

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3 minutes ago, 4MyEgo said:

 

For the record, I drive my wife around in the morning to drop off her products to sell at a couple of places, I am an unpaid driver, I also drive my wife to the shops to do shopping for us to eat, now if Thailand thinks I am taking a job away from a Thai because they think that my wife would otherwise employ a driver to do the job, then that would just show how thick they are because if my wife had to employ a driver to take her to drop off her products, she might as well shut up shop so to speak because her income would go to zero pretty much, you see who do they think pays for petrol, services, registration, maintenance of the vehicle, not to mention insurance and wear and tear, oh lets not forget the electricity for her to make her products.

 

Seriously, if I was going to worry about such nonsense, I might as well move back to the old country where she would make a hell of a lot more than what she is making here, but the little she makes gives her that independence to buy what she wants, and reduces my out of pocket expenses, albeit it she doesn't need to do it. 

Don't disagree with you 4MyEgo. I do similar.

 

 

It's not Thailand, as in;  'if Thailand thinks', it's people in authority that either have no compassion, love, or simply want something to do. There is also the; 'we can forget this instance if you donate to the police ball' aspect.

 

Best not to be careless.

 

As for what would happen if one was collared. I think it would be donation time or monkey, leading to deportation.

 

 

 

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The main question here is how much money you will earn from  that work.

if the amount is not substantial, say 20-30K USD a year, you can stash it in a bank account

outside thailand and spend it later.

however, if the amount gets bigger, say 200K USD a year, your bank account might ask you to prove

that you paid taxes on  this amount, or ask you where are you based so they can report the

account to that country. than you might have a problem to get your money out of the bank.

This problem might also happan if you saved a substatial amount in that foreign bank (for example you got paid there 30K USD per year for 8 years, now you have there 240K USD).

 

the bank might demand to know where were you based all those years, and when you will say thailand,

the bank might demand to get documents from a thai accountant that will prove that you paid taxes, as well as documents from thai revenue office . You might have a problem to show those documents

because you did not have a work permit all those years, hence the money might be confiscated and

you might get sued by the bank for money laundry.

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3 hours ago, owl sees all said:

To work online here requires electricity and internet connection. So Thai resources are being utilised.

 

What if you use solar power for electricity and a satellite connection for internet?

 

No Thai resources would be used in this case, unless you are going to say that Thailand owns the sun.

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1 minute ago, Sheryl said:

 

it is not so much a matter of not bothering, as it is not being possible. There is no way you can get a work permit unless employed by a company based/registered in Thailand.

 

I don't recall having heard of anyone getting in trouble for online work with no payment or clients from Thailand, that did not break other laws (gambling, pornography, drugs, pyramid schemes etc).

 

But it is indeed wise to keep it to yourself.

 

Where digital nomads do tend to have problems is with visa, if they are not over 50 or can't meet the financial requirements for retirement extension.

Spot on.

Thailand would do well to introduce a specialized digital nomad type visa. It could be a cash cow for them and provide visa stability for its users.

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11 minutes ago, Sheryl said:

I cannot imagine a bank in a foreign country caring or seeking proof regarding whether you paid taxes in Thailand. Their concern would be laws of the country they are based in. And I don't think money transfers to Thailand in the amounts most people would need for living costs here would be likely to raise red flags re money laundering.

YOU do not need to imagine it - this is the reality now. it has nothing to do with the home country. what mattars is the residence country (where you live) and the income source country.

money laundry indeed is not the right word - more an issue of tax evasion , assuming that the

virtual activity is not criminal (no fraud, porn, drugs, ext.).

 

so it all depands, as i mentioned, on the amounts involved. if the business will be very good and

you will start to generate big amounts, all parties involved will want to know where and if you pay taxes - the banks, the governments (banks must report the account ) and aventually, thai immigration.

so better plan ahead , if big money is coming your way. one popular solution is to open a company

in hong kong, than direct all payments to that hong kong company, while you are a resident of thailand. than you will not have to pay taxes in hong kong, because the tax system there is

territorial, and will only have to pay tax in thailand on amounts you bring into thailand in the same

year you earned them.

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46 minutes ago, Sheryl said:

I don't recall having heard of anyone getting in trouble for online work with no payment or clients from Thailand, that did not break other laws (gambling, pornography, drugs, pyramid schemes etc).

 

Good to know.

 

46 minutes ago, Sheryl said:

But it is indeed wise to keep it to yourself.

 

It effectively has to be declared to the tax authorities in my home country. I know there are information sharing arrangements but I can't imagine it's got to the point where it pops up on the IO's screen here in Thailand.

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5 minutes ago, Crabsticks said:

 

Good to know.

 

 

It effectively has to be declared to the tax authorities in my home country. I know there are information sharing arrangements but I can't imagine it's got to the point where it pops up on the IO's screen here in Thailand.

 

It will not.

 

I am in a soemwhat similar situation as a result of COVID . Normally I do consultancies in other countries, now having to do them virtually online. I declare all income to my home country and pay tax on it. I am paid by non-Thai sources and payment is to non-Thai bank accounts. Transfer here what I need to live on as I need it (keep the 800K for extension purposes in a fixed acocunt) .  Absolutely no problems. In the rare case where I transferred in more than a certain amount (I think over USD 20K but I forget exactly) I got a call from the bank here in Thailand asking source of the funds and purpose. "Savings" and "living costs" were accepted readily as answer.

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3 hours ago, 4MyEgo said:

 

Just another random website with no official backing/authority.  I found the most informative line:

 

"There is no specific law that says working online or being a digital nomad in Thailand is permitted.  There is also no law saying that it is not permitted."

 

Says to me we can have these conversations again and again but until a law is made any action will be at the whim of the labour official concerned.

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14 minutes ago, treetops said:

 

Just another random website with no official backing/authority.  I found the most informative line:

 

"There is no specific law that says working online or being a digital nomad in Thailand is permitted.  There is also no law saying that it is not permitted."

 

Says to me we can have these conversations again and again but until a law is made any action will be at the whim of the labour official concerned.

You could look at it that way but another way is to embrace Thai ambiguity. The truth is that any long term expat knows is that the Thai authorities aren't seeking out people banging on their computers at home as long as not dealing with the Thai economy and not illegal stuff like porn, scam selling call centers, etc. If you're serving clients abroad, teaching English to toddlers in China etc., you should keep disceet but no reason to live in fear either.

 

Perhaps there is something about the nature of the OPs specific work that makes it more problematic for him. People can't say unless he gives more details. 

Edited by Jingthing
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I dont know where people get this arbitrary rubbish from.

 

The definition of "Work" is whatever the Thai government says it is, they pretty much reserve the right to define anything as work if they want to, ie: if its being abused they can say its work.

The definition of work makes no distinction where you get paid, or if you even get paid .

The definition of work has little to do with taking work from Thais, beyond a specific list, it doesn't matter if you are taking a job from a Thai or not.

The definition of work has nothing to do with using Thai resources.

The definition of work has nothing to do with working remotely, you are physically inside thailand.

If you are inside the borders of Thailand doing something that vaguely resembles work, you can be seen as working.

Saying nobody has been caught for doing xyz, so it must be legal, is like saying your aftershave is tiger repellant.

 

People need to stop blindly repeating the same arbitrary rubbish. 

Edited by Peterw42
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3 hours ago, owl sees all said:

Don't disagree with you 4MyEgo. I do similar.

 

 

It's not Thailand, as in;  'if Thailand thinks', it's people in authority that either have no compassion, love, or simply want something to do. There is also the; 'we can forget this instance if you donate to the police ball' aspect.

 

Best not to be careless.

 

As for what would happen if one was collared. I think it would be donation time or monkey, leading to deportation.

 

 

 

 

I would love for the day to come, I would get my iPhone out, start filming and watching the wife take to anyone in authority thinking that they are big enough, she has a way of putting them in their place, have seen cops walk away with heads down, what the f she says to them, I have no idea, I just do as she says; when in Thailand, leave Thailand to me, as I used to say to her back in my country.

 

She is really a tame kitten 364 days of the year, the immigration guys, I $hit you not, have respect for her, after the very first time she let them have it, I believe her living abroad in a democratic country for a decade and obtaining another citizen has given her some kind of magical power, that or she grew balls 🙂

 

I find it quite amusing when she goes off, even the local mayor looks at me as if to say, how can you put up with her, but he doesn't know, she is quite the opposite with me, has to be, otherwise, I start yapping. 

 

Edited by 4MyEgo
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2 hours ago, Captain Monday said:

I don't think foreigners should be allowed to own a car for that very reason. Only a bicycle, for exercise not transportation. Walking to the bank should not be allowed they should have palanquins carried by 4 stout men. 

 

 

 

Um, I don't own the car, it's in her name, I am the Chauffer and the ATM who pays for the luxury of driving Ms Daisy around, even though she has a license and can drive very well, yes slave labour, perhaps I should complain ?

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38 minutes ago, treetops said:

Just another random website with no official backing/authority.  I found the most informative line:

 

"There is no specific law that says working online or being a digital nomad in Thailand is permitted.  There is also no law saying that it is not permitted."

 

Says to me we can have these conversations again and again but until a law is made any action will be at the whim of the labour official concerned.

 

What it says to me is, live your life as normal, why, because laws are broken every single day of the week here and everywhere else, live and let live.

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15 hours ago, 4MyEgo said:

 

What it says to me is, live your life as normal, why, because laws are broken every single day of the week here and everywhere else, live and let live.

What about all the youtubers?They clearly working here and make an income

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19 minutes ago, mrmicbkktxl said:

What about all the youtubers? They clearly working here and make an income

 

Yes. They are very publicly working and making an income, and earning a great deal of money in some cases perhaps. If they weren't making money 90% of them wouldn't be doing it. Do the authorities ever crack down on that ?

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15 minutes ago, Tuvoc said:

 

Yes. They are very publicly working and making an income, and earning a great deal of money in some cases perhaps. If they weren't making money 90% of them wouldn't be doing it. Do the authorities ever crack down on that ?

That would make a great video, live from immigration detention, lol

I think a crackdown on youtubers is inevitable, a couple of the big channels are pushing the envelope. Obviously scamming an education/volunteer visa on camera, admitting on camera that they live "and work" in thailand, some of them even offer paid consultancy services "how to live and work in Thailand".

Like anything in Thailand there probably wouldn't be a problem if they kept a low profile, but these idiots are bragging on camera

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Compared to millions of low income workers from neighboring countries, a lot of them illegally working until recently, remote digital nomad workers are just a drop in the bucket. Most of them are also just for 1-2 years and move on. All the tourist guides and other temp workers went away with the ED visa crackdown few years ago. 

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5 minutes ago, LazySlipper said:

What happens when he transfers his money to a Thai bank... if thst is what he does?

Nothing.

I would be no different than many other people that transfer their money into the country.

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5 hours ago, Tuvoc said:

 

Yes. They are very publicly working and making an income, and earning a great deal of money in some cases perhaps. If they weren't making money 90% of them wouldn't be doing it. Do the authorities ever crack down on that ?

Lol...google "what it takes to make $1000 per month on youtube"...you need half a million views just for $1000. Do you think Google gives away money that easily?

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