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Setting Up an Association in Thailand

An association could be created for lawful activities which according to the nature of the association, is required to be done unceasingly and jointly by the persons other than those which distributes profits to their members.

Section 78 of Civil and Commercial Code defines the Association as a juristic person which has been “created for conducting any activity which, according to its nature, is to be done continuously and collectively by persons other than that of sharing profits or incomes earned…”

They might engage in the activities which is beneficial for the public, though, as per definition the associations are organizations of members which act together for achieving specified goals. Some of the typical activities of an association include hobby clubs, sports clubs, and religious organizations. A non-profit association is also one of the most common legal forms for NGOs.

The association must have a minimum of ten members. Their names, occupation, and addresses must be specified in the application for registering the association. The members are required to pay the subscription fee to the association. There is no requirement for an association to hold any initial registered share capital.

The association is registered under the law of Thailand with the country’s Ministry of Interior. It could earn income but must adhere to the tax laws and other specified laws in Thailand. They need to file yearly reports with competent authorities and the government ministries which include the income and expense audit report certified by the accountant and copy of the minutes of the annual general meeting.

The associations are required to adopt the regulations as per the Thai laws. Additions and alterations to the regulations could be done with the help of a resolution of the general meeting.

The association is represented by the committee in relations with the third parties. The committee members appointment would take place as per Thai law and the regulations of the Association. The appointment should then be registered. The Registrar could refuse the committee member’s appointment, but in specific cases for instance where the committee member doesn’t have the status or the conduct which is needed for implementing the objects of the association. The registrar will be required for notifying the association in writing with respect to the reasons for the decision.

For registering an Association, a license should be issued first from Office of the National Culture Commission. Documents required for registration are as follows:

  • The by-laws or regulations of the Association.
  • A list of the names, address, and occupation of minimum initial ten members.
  • A list of the names, address, and occupation of the directors of the association minimum three directors.
  • Background histories by 3 promoters that are certified by the department level government officials.
  • The minutes of the meeting for establishing the Association by minimum 3 promoters.
  • Map showing the location of the association.
  • Consent letter from the landlord for using the building/ land as the location of the association together with documents describing the landlord’s right of ownership.
  • Certified ID card copies and house registration book of all the directors and members of the association
  • Other documents (if any)

Information to be included in the by-laws or regulations of the Association

Section 79 prescribes the required elements in light of the regulations of the Association. Below are the following particulars:

1. Name, location and logo.
2. The Association is required to incorporate the word ‘Association’ to its name.
3. Objectives of the Association
4. Addresses of the association’s main office and its branches.
5. Procedures and rules related to the membership.
6. Membership fees details, particularly the rates.
7. Rules of the committee of association namely:
Appointment of the Directors
Number of Directors
Meetings of the Committee
Term and retirement of office of the Directors
8. Management rules that include maintaining the accounts and properties of the association.
9. Management rules with respect to the AGM (annual general meeting)

The directors of the Association are required to make the memorandum at District Office with the help of a prescribed form, and the form could be filled in and filed together with the application for setting up the Association. The application should be submitted to District Office where the association would be located. The government fee for the same is 2,000 Thai Baht and it should be paid at the time of collection of the registration certificate from the district office.

It is, therefore, important to appoint business consulting firms in Thailand who intend to form an association for dealing with the process of the filling the applications and several forms.

The association could be dissolved in certain circumstances, including the resolution for dissolution passed in the general meeting. In the case of the dissolution, liquidation of the assets would need to follow the principles of liquidations of (for-profit) companies.

The Office of National Culture Commission will also solicit the views of any government departments that are related to the purposes of the Association. If permission to establish the Association is granted, it may then be registered as a juristic person.