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Abstract: Income tax cuts for individuals and businesses, ambitious government spending plans, financial assistance for citizens affected by the December 2004 tsunami, rising costs of the national healthcare system, and public pressure to curb alcohol consumption all contributed to the Government of Thailand's decision to consider raising its excise taxes on alcoholic beverages. By September 2005 the Thai cabinet had to make a decision on reform of the system of liquor taxation. The current scheme was a mixed system that charged excise taxes based on both liquor values and the quantity of alcohol content, whichever yielded higher revenues. The cabinet--caught between the competing interests of its own revenue needs, the profit objective of local producers, and consumer preferences and welfare--was considering three options for reform proposed by the ministry of Finance's Excise Tax Department. The case reviews key factors that affected the conditions and desires of each stakeholder, as well as provides an international comparative perspective on the taxation of alcoholic beverages.
Learning Objective: The case can be used in both public policy and business courses, as it demonstrates the dynamic interaction between government policies, corporate strategies, and consumer interests.