Foreign property investments in Por.Bor.Tor.5 land
The acquisition, maintenance, and sale of Por Bor Tor 5
The Por.Bor.Tor.5 (sometimes misspelled Por Tor Bor 5) is a municipality tax document for a specific plot of land in Thailand. It certifies (together with the official pink tax receipt – Aor.Bor.Tor), that the beneficiary has occupied the land, a tax number has been issued for it and the beneficiary pays taxes for the utilization of the land. The claim document has no Garuda emblem and is issued without any governmental survey. The beneficiary, he might be called caretaker, can’t sell or lease out the land.
On or before January 31, of the year in which the official reference price of land is revised, the owner shall be required to submit a form describing any empty plots of land owned by him/her. The revision to the official reference price of land generally takes place every four years. Traditionally, municipal tax is due annually and payable on or before April 30, or within 30 days from the date of receipt of an official assessment of the tax due. An appeal may be filed against such an official assessment.
“As por.bor.tor.5 is essentially a receipt given to anyone who comes to pay land tax at local administration offices, brokers have used it in an attempt to buy national park lands for capitalists, politicians and former high-ranking officials to use for commercial gains.” The Nation newspaper.
The plot is neither registered at the land office nor can a building permit be granted or a blue house book be issued. The legal succession, if the beneficiary passes away, depends on the specific circumstances. However, the beneficiary has the option to apply for a Sor.Kor.1 and later for a land title deed (Chanote). Therefore, the unimpressive claim document can be the source of great richness.
Thailand’s PBT5 policy has changed in the last few years. New tax certificates are in most cases no longer issued, the whole PBT5 system has lost reputation and acknowledgment by certain stakeholders. The importance of the Por.Bor.Tor.5 document has decreased towards zero. The PBT5 seems no longer to be future-proofed and good enough for a long-term foreign investment.
Governmental lease structures on PBT5 land
Under the Crown Property Land Act / The State Property Act 2019, the use of PBT5 land requires a lease from the governmental treasury department. Non-compliance is punished with up to five years in prison. Under the new PBT5 regime and military policy, PBT5 residents are offered, encouraged or even requested to enter into a long-term governmental lease agreement. The local practice differs from island to island and coast to coast.
Experience shows, that the lease agreements pretty frequently conflict with the PBT5 landscape. Early adopters might take advantage of the ill-informed foreigner. To act swiftly and resolute might protect foreign investment in paradise. Also, the lease has an impact on so-called villa ownership, hotel licensing and various other aspects.
Seven conflicting fields in the PBT5 legal practice
#1. The legal character of PBT5 land under previous property regime and under the State Property Act 2019. How meaningful is the possession of the tax receipt for future-proofed foreign property investment?
#2. Upgrade of PBT5 to Chanote: Although the PBT5 never had been a soft land title, its likelihood of a direct upgrade to a Chanote is decreasing.
#3. Transfer and subdivision of PBT5 land with and without a governmental lease agreement. Burdened and promoted by a non-registered 30-year governmental lease, how can the plot be transferred, subdivided or merged?
#4. Governmental lease. What is the relationship and conflict potential between PBT5 and lease?
#5. Villa ownership. While the PBT5 never gave land ownership, how is the villa investment be treated?
#6. Hotel license. Can a hotel license be issued for a hotel business without land ownership?
#7. Conflicts between PBT5 owners and lessees. Who will win at the court, if there are conflicting parties?
Professional service offer from Bangkok
PUGNATORIUS Ltd. is a Bangkok-based specialist provider of bespoke transactional legal and tax advice in the corporate and property legal and taxation industry sectors. The law firm assists clients
- to apply for a Por.Bor.Tor.5 certificate, based on occupancy, tax payments, and certain tasks to take care of the land,
- to defend the Por Bor Tor 5 beneficiary against a loss of his possessory rights to intruders and violators,
- to accomplish a PBT5 due diligence with respect to the likelihood that the land will be upgraded and land ownership transferred to the caretaker under that claim document,
- to establish a legal structure which allows foreigners to obtain PBT5 status,
- to transfer or acquire Por.Bor.Tor.5 (which does not mean to transfer the land) including the land possession, the tax number, and the tax payment obligations,
- to review existing Por.Bor.Tor.5 investment structures whether they are properly designed and maintained to facilitate a later upgrade for the benefit of the investor,
- to apply for and register governmental lease agreements,
- to protect the PBT5 owner against a hostile lease on his land, and vice versa,
- to assist in reporting requirements and tax compliance with the Thai government, and
- to obtain upgraded land rights if the claims mature and the Land Department eventually grants a real title to land, based on the claim certificate.
Por.Bor.Tor.5 rights provide a high risk and high reward instrument to invest in untouched real estate offside of areas of intensive tourism and ecological devastation. However, it requires careful preparation and a prudential procedural method to secure your piece of paradise.
Assignments on real estate investments are one of the core business activities with a particular competence, long-standing experience, and unique market reputation of the law firm. PUGNATORIUS Ltd. typically provides these seven services:
- Investment structures for foreign property acquisitions
- Property due diligence examination
- Leasing transactions and protected lease schemes
- Industrial estates, resorts, factories
- Hotel and hospitality projects
- Property tax structuring
- Legal opinions and property investment reviews
Details are described at “Legal services and tax planning for real estate acquisitions and property developments.”
Disclaimer: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. This low-resolution high-level outlook constitutes neither legal advice nor an attorney-client relationship.
Por Bor Tor Ha (Por Bor Tor 5) is just one of the land documents in Thailand. Others are Nor Sor Si (Nor Sor 4) (Chanote), Nor Sor Sam Gor (Nor Sor 3 Gor), Nor Sor Sam Khor (Nor Sor 3 Khor), Nor Sor Sam Khor (Nor Sor 3 Khor), Nor Sor Sam (Nor Sor 3), Nor Sor Song (Nor Sor 2), Sor Kor Neung (Sor Kor 1), Nor Sor Ha (Nor Sor 5), Sor Por Gor, Sor Tor Gor, Nor Kor Sam (Nor Kor 3) and Gor Sor Nor Ha (Gor Sor Nor 5).