This information has been provided by Sunbelt Legal Advisors, updated February 11, 2011
A sole proprietor can engage in virtually any business permitted by law, unless there is a special law to the contrary. For example, a sole proprietor may not engage in finance or insurance activities as these are restricted by law to limited companies. However, a sole proprietor can act as an insurance broker for an insurance company with the proper licensing. If the sole proprietor wishes to engage in import/export activities then a license would be required, which is also the case for other business activities that carry licensing requirements. In the case of importing or exporting, an import/export paperless license can be obtained within a few working days.
Sole proprietorships engaged in the sale of goods, auction sales, transportation, money lending, quasi-banking services, handicraft industries and hotels must register their commercial activities at their Local District Office.. Most service related occupations are exempt from commercial registration.
The sole proprietor must acquire a taxpayer number. A VAT certificate is required if the yearly income from the business is in excess of 1,800,000 Baht.
When registering the sole proprietorship, certain documents are required including a copy of the house registration book of the business address, signed by the owner of the property. The Sole Proprietorship should be registered at the actual business place and the property can be owned by the sole proprietor. A map of the business address and a letter of consent signed by the owner of the business address will also be required.
A sole proprietor is restricted to only one trading name, but should the Sole Proprietor wish to have another Trading Name, another Sole Proprietorship Registration can be made but it must be under a different sub-category of business.
It is possible for an American national to register a sole proprietorship under the Amity Treaty, an agreement signed between Thailand and America in 1966.
It is important to note that the sole proprietor carries full liability and does not share the same limited liability protection that a limited company does.
While registering a sole proprietorship for a Thai national is a relatively straightforward and easy task Sunbelt Asia has extensive experience with both this and obtaining the required export/import licenses should difficulties arise.