The Excise Department’s chief announced that they will make their decision within a month about whether or not to place a tax on high-sugar drinks.
As the National Reform Steering Assembly wants the tax on sweet drinks because of the drinks ill effects of health, a study panel was created by the the Finance Ministry to discover exactly how damaging sugary drinks are to the health of citizens.
Based on what they find, they will decide how to tax the drinks, whether on the amount of sugar contained or the type of drink. They also need to consider the related impact on sugarcane farmers, according to director-general Somchai Pulsawas.
However, the latest information from the Health Department last year revealed that an average Thai consumes sugar as much as 26 teaspoons per day, with most people getting their daily dose from sweet beverages.
The Excise Department already taxes carbonated drinks, based on either volume or value. “Healthy” fruit and veggie juices have to contain 10 percent natural ingredients to avoid the tax.
The Excise Department has already collected THB350 billion in tax in the first five months of this year. They passed their goal by THB17 billion. The top products to create tax revenue were fuel and related products (THB115 billion), vehicles (THB67 billion), beer (THB62.2 billion), liquor (THB44.9 billion) and tobacco (THB43.1 billion).
It was noted that Mexico imposed a similar tax on carbonated drinks a few years ago in an effort to reduce consumption of sugar, but that it hadn’t lowered the incidence of diabetes. The department and panel will also study anecdotal evidence such as this, according to Bangkok Post.
Who knows where sugary drinks might land on that list if they are added to our taxable items?