Paying Tax in Thailand
Took my tax form to the local office this afternoon. The deadline is the end of the month. The officers don’t just accept it; they check it over for you. The form is in Thai, which is fair enough –UK tax forms are not in Thai!
Foreigners can’t insist on everything being in the Thai language
I have difficulty accepting comments from foreigners who insist on having documentation and signage always available in English. Many think it is their right, forgetting the onus is on them to learn the language not the other way around. Thais are very accommodating when dealing with those who do not speak Thai. Westerners insisting on English is pushing it too far.
I’d made a small 28-baht mistake as I had read a Thai instruction wrongly. The officer corrected the whole form for me. Nothing was too much trouble. No one likes paying tax but it was a nice atmosphere in that office. The work was still being done despite the humour and laughter.
I wish I could have taken a picture of all the happy faces, taxpayers and tax collectors joking and chatting together. But it’s illegal to take photos in Thai government offices.
I gave her some cherries from my garden. It’s the sort of thing you do in Thailand. Everyone is forever giving and receiving small gifts. It’s called nam jai in Thai. (literally, a heart flowing kindly with water!) It was in no way a bribe. She had already completed the form. She had gone out of her way to be helpful. For everyone, not just for me.
Can’t imagine doing that in the UK or the States.
Try to integrate into Thai culture
The takeaway from this is that it’s better to integrate into the Thai way of doing things. Do it their way, according to their culture, not following your native culture. Be friendly, develop a personal relationship, never complain, and keep smiling in the same way they do.
Don’t abandon your original culture completely
You can still keep your own standards. I know some friends who emigrated to France. They fit into the French way of life completely. But the husband insists his wife cooks a full Sunday roast lunch — English style — every week. That does not interfere with their ability to enjoy their life in France.