Can a Thai company be my nominee for land acquisition?

I want to purchase land in Thailand and use a Thai company. I do not want to buy the land on the name of my Thai spouse, but use a Thai company. Someone told me that this is illegal because that company would be my nominee? How can a company be a nominee?

Posted in Real Estate Legal Issues, asked by Nominee, 4 years ago. 1595 hits.


a principal and his agentWhen you skip the practical legal issues and problems of running a Thai business in Thailand as a foreigner (work permit, the requirement of having an office, business objective, filing taxes, having Thai shareholders and the requirements and restrictions under the foreign business act) and stick to this specific question 'can it be a front for land ownership' the answer is definitely not.

A Thai company cannot be a front for foreign land ownership. A company formed with this purpose is 100% illegal under the land code act and void under the civil code. The company would be considered the juristic person who acquired ownership on your behalf (illegal under section 96 Land Code Act).

You will be considered the principal and actual owner under the chapter agency of the civil and commercial code. The land will be considered your property through the company, and therefore you acquired land in Thailand without permission (section 94 of the Land Code Act). You may be able to circumvent the law, Thai lawyers may even assist you, but if you get caught there are serious penalties involved which could include fines, imprisonment (penal code) and deportation out of Thailand (immigration act).

A Thai company is not an alternative for foreign ownership of land or condominium beyond the foreign ownership quota. A majority Thai owned company can however own land in Thailand.

Also check the reference links below

3 years ago

a principal and his agentThe primary objective or purpose of forming a Thai company must be a legitimate business and trading purpose. You can never say the company is set up as a vehicle to hold land or condominium on your behalf.

Thai law does not allow dormant non-trading companies or mere holding companies. A company with no significant accounting transactions during a period of time can be investigated by officials of the ministry of commerce and even completely removed form the register of companies and the assets will be divided among the shareholders (unless you can proof the Thai shareholders were your nominees).

As a trading Thai company with a foreign interest, management or shareholders the company (share-) structure must comply with the Foreign Business Act. Under this act the company cannot be structured with Thai nominee shareholders acting for a foreigner (section 36 of the Foreign Business Act).

The company cannot be your special purpose company to hold real estate in Thailand on your behalf, and you cannot use nominees to form a company for a house purchase in Thailand.

If you act on behalf of the company you are also restricted by the Foreign Employment Act. Work is defined as 'engaging in work by exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefit'. Anything you do inside Thailand on behalf of the company officially requires a work permit and for certain acts a work permit is already required.

3 years ago
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