*** A word of Warning to ALL riders and buyers of ' BIG ' imported bikes ***

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by finnomick, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. A follow-up tale about the HONDA GB400TT Special Edition I recently bought, and a word of WARNING too.....
    Some people may know about a new law being used by the Thai Customs and Excise -- most of you probably won't......and it doesn't matter a jot if you are a foreigner or a Thai rider !!! The new law came into force last year. If you buy an imported " BIG " bike, DO NOT buy it ' on invoice ' without very close ( Thai literate ) scrutiny. Someone selling a bike with invoice may well have paid the import duty, but you need to check thoroughly if they have ALSO paid the EXCISE DUTY. I thought ( wrongly ) that they were one and the same -- THEY ARE NOT !!! So, being a law abiding retiree here, I got my wife to phone the Customs and Excise office to ask them how we could go about paying the excise duty. Within the hour, Customs and Excise ' swooped ' onto our house/shop/property and out jumped 5 Customs and Excise officials. They photographed my new pride and joy Honda GB400TT Special Edition, and used masking tape to take the frame and engine numbers. Because WE had phoned them, they said they would not impound the bike but would expect us to visit their office very soon. However, and here is the painful bit -- the NEW Customs and Excise law brought into force last year is to fine non - excise duty payers up to 5 times the excise duty ( especially Bangkok etc ). Once you have paid the fine, you must then pay the actual excise duty too. AND it doesn't matter if you are of Thai origin either, the new law applies to EVERYONE.
    So, off we went to the local Customs and Excise office accompanied by the wife of the guy who sold us the bike ( you may remember from my previous report that the guy is my wife's sort-of-cousin who owns a garage and buys and sells mainly the Honda 50 type of bike ). Now, HE had bought a Yamaha 1300 XJR ' on invoice ' in Bangkok, so he was having to do the same as me because the excise duty had not been paid . Well, after 3 hours, my wife came out and gave me the thumbs-up, but what she had to go through on my behalf blew my mind. She had to be escorted by Customs and Excise officials to the main Police station where she had to pay the fine -- I didn't even know that she had been escorted from the building. They then brought her back to their office where she had to pay the actual Excise Duty. Luckily, in our area, we ONLY had to pay two times the excise duty by way of the fine. Note, my wife and her sort-of-cousin's wife were escorted to the main Police station to pay the fines seperately in two different vehicles. There's more...... The Customs and Excise officers base the excise duty on the price of a NEW BIKE, not the imported or sale price, so my Honda GB suddenly became a costly 168,600 baht. To this end, I was relieved of just under 17,000 baht. My wife's sort-of-cousin with the Yamaha XJR was not so lucky -- he had to empty 50,000 baht out of his wallet !!!
    Whilst at the Customs and Excise office, my wife was informed that they already knew we had another bike, the Honda, and that we'd had it for a about a week. How ? Easy, they PAY INFORMANTS !!!!!
    All this hasn't put me off the bike, but, considering the warning my wife ( and others like Franz ) gave me about buying imported bikes with no books etc., it has taught me a lesson -- no more ' on invoice ' bikes for me.
    As I wrote earlier, the ' new ' law came into force last year.....and even my wife's sort-of-cousin who is a small - bike dealer didn't know of it.
    Finally, a VERY BIG thankyou goes to my wife for sorting everything out -- I guess she really does love me.....
  2. Sorry to Hear about Your Trouble finnomick but all Credit to Yourself and Wife for sorting it out! So do You get a Plate, Green Book now or do You still have to go through all that Emissions Bu****it and Pay again? We knew it would get tough on Grey imports eventually and I imagine it will get Tougher as the Big Name Manufacturers start Selling More Bikes in Thailand. I believe it's better to just Buy New from the Dealers here but of Course that limits Your Choices to a very small range of Bikes but no doubt eventually we will get more Choices? There are a lot of Guys here in Chiang Mai with Grey Bikes and or on Temporary import and no doubt eventually the Time will Come when the Officials will go after them!!! Good Luck.
  3. For buying big bikes, it is just a case of knowing what you are doing and then doing it right.
    One rule I stick buy is buy brand new. The older second hand bikes would be so hard to trace the truthful import duty and excise tax paid information on. With a new bike the engine and frame numbers are genuine. So the Green book will show the genuine frame and engine numbers.
    Buying a near new second hand bike will be ok if it has a green book and the frame and engine number on the bike have not been altered and match the green book numbers.
    I pay whatever is asked for the registration process. Usually from 70,000 to 90,000 Baht.
    I know that more money means more speed, service and fewer hassles.

    I have successfully, legally (if there is such a thing as legal in Thailand) registered a number of bikes over the years and have the green books to prove it. In fact I have never purchased a brand in Thailand that has dealerships. I like Hondas and Aprilia’s, other than Red baron I don’t where to get them.

    I have just ordered another 3 bikes from Red Baron, all of which will have to be imported in parts and go through the registration process and will end up with a green book for each bike. I will not need to fear the customs nor Police, ever.

    The OP experience is full of the usual vague interpretation of Thai law usually made up on the spot and designed to suit the pockets of those involved. Such as the fine being 5 times the excise duty but we will let you off today with 2 times!!! Because it is our area!!! Having to go to the Police station to pay a customs fine then back to the Customs office to pay customs!!! It reeks of corruption.

    If you import an assembled new bike into Thailand you pay 80% import duty, 35% excise tax and also an interior tax of 10%. So a bike worth 200, 000 Baht is going to cost you about 200,000 baht in duty’s and taxes if you can get it in

    If a new bike is imported in parts, the parts are imported as separate shipments and each item is taxed at about 27% to 35% , depends on who you ask. I have been told some items get through completely untaxed. The parts are assembled into a complete bike and the bike is then taken for the registration process.

    All those parts are included in an inventory with the tax paid stamped on the document. This is what is required to go with the bike when it does the emission and registration process. This results in the bike costing about 35% above the average retail price in Australia.

    I have purchased bikes up to 1 million Baht value and as low as 390,000 Baht. All have cost me in the range of 70,000 to 90,000 Baht to get a Green book.
  4. Hello Ian, well the green book issue was on our list of questions for the Customs and Excise dept. Luckily, my wife was dealing with the ' top ' guy there. He told her having all the relevant paperwork was one step away from getting a green book, but in itself, didn't actually get the green book. He also told my wife it would be just about impossible for us as individuals to get a green book direct from the Vehicle Licensing Dept., rather, we would have to find a dealer who can ' get ' a green book. Apparently, these ' dealers ' buy the books in say, batches of ten or more at a time. This way, the cash flowing under the table makes it worthwhile for the ' official ' to issue green books. I am amazed at how much and what information is freely given by the ' officials ' -- the only thing they would not tell us is who their informants are. Not that we'd be straight round there of course ! He also told my wife that all the big SECOND - HAND bikes imported from Laos, Japan etc., are ALL ILLEGAL. They are actually imported under the veil of being for use in mechanical training etc., etc. Somehow, a big - noise ( or group of big - noises ) in Bangkok have been exploiting a loophole in the law and the bikes keep coming. As you so rightly say, as more manufacturers assemble bigger bikes here, this system of importing will eventually stop ( ha ha ) but the choice will be very limited. What the Customs and Excise dept should do is simply not allow these bikes to reach the streets. Impound the containers at the docks. Shut down the shops selling these bikes -- I was told one shop in Buriram is in deep sh!t with their dept. Of course, a whole lot of people in varying positions in the country will get very upset -- no more gravy. Or, they could simply change the laws and let the bikes in freely but control their registration ( ha ha again ).
    As long as the Customs and Excise dept. are paying informants, none of us law - breakers are immune from their hefty fines -- up to 5 times the assessed excise duty. My wife was told that the informant had seen me polishing the bike outside our house. A week previous to this it had been for sale about 1km up the road at my wife's sort-of-cousin's garage -- hence the call to Customs and Excise.
    And, why do they assess the duty on the price of a new bike ? My bike is 25 years old and is in no way worth the 168,600 baht they based their assessment on. Because they can is the answer to that one I suppose -- pay up or no bike. They actually have a folder they carry with them showing the prices of all new bikes. You can remonstrate with them until you are blue in the face, but don't bother, you won't get anywhere -- just pay the fine and then the excise duty.
    Also worth repeating is the advice given by the boss -- always carry a set of photocopies of ALL your paperwork with you. This means the bill of sale, the ID and blue book of the seller, the import duty paid receipt, the import invoice, the customs and excise duty paid receipt -- everything you have in fact. A pain in the **** but it will ensure you don't have to walk home. You cannot pay them ' on the spot ' even if you had enough cash on you, it's a lengthy visit to their office, a visit to the police station etc as per my first posting.
    I've been here long enough to know not to get worked up about this sort of thing -- it gets you nowhere. I wish I knew two weeks ago what I know now but I'm really happy with the bike and will ride around on it clutching a ream of paperwork in my left hand -- different from the usual mobile phone most motorcyclists here seem to do.
    As previously mentioned, no-one is immune from the Customs and Excise dept. My wife was told about the policeman from Khon Kaen who was stopped near here, presumably on a Harley-Davidson or similar ( though having owned several H-D's in the UK., I don't know of any bike that can compare ). The value of his bike was assessed at over 1 million baht -- his fine plus duty was just over 100,000 baht .....
  5. Phuket DMV demand to see proof of payment of excise duty even on bikes with a green book.. If the bike was imported and not sold by a main dealer they want to see the text on page 18 of the green book detailing the excise duty and levelling fines / refusing to change name without it.

    The area where this gets really ugly is excise duty was introduced in (IIRC) 97.. But they demand proof even on bikes older than that with a 'first reg' date prior to when it was collected.. Also I know of at least one case where the information on page 18 was in an old book, but the staff in the DMV didnt move the page 18 data over to a new book when a new book was issued as at the time this proof was considered irrelevant. So because of their slack processing the owner is caught out again.

    Lost count of how many times I have been drafted in to try to solve this on Phuket for people.. I would say most grey import bikes lack the excise tax requirement.. But I dont think most DMV's enforce the page 18 data on transfers if the bike is fully green booked.
  6. Finnomick, if you don't mind telling, can I ask where you are and why you think people in Bangkok should be especially concerned? It would seem risky to contact customs with a view to paying the excise, as once you showed your invoice docs they may start demanding all sorts of amounts. There are a lot of unregistered off road bikes around, many worth a small percentage of the new models. I wonder how the value of these bikes is figured out for excise?
  7. I live in the north-east of Thailand, near Buriram. The reason I mentioned big bike owners in Bangkok ( and other areas with higher amounts of big bikes ) is because this is what Customs and Excise told us. They said that if someone could not show evidence that the excise duty had been paid, the fine ' could ' be as much as 5 times the excise duty. In our case, we were lucky WE contacted Customs and Excise because they had already been ' informed ' of a new big bike in the area. We were on their list for a visit which could have resulted in the bike being impounded. Just as my bike is worth nowhere near the cost of a new Honda 400cc., this is their method of getting excise duty. Even if you have an off-road bike, they will base it's value on the engine size of a similar new bike.

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