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The Exchange of Tax Information Portal is an initiative of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. The Global Forum conducts peer reviews of its member jurisdictions' ability to co-operate with other tax administrations in accordance with the internationally agreed standard. The standard provides for exchange of information on request where it is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic tax laws of the requesting jurisdiction. Effective exchange of information requires that jurisdictions ensure information is available, that it can be obtained by the tax authorities and that there are mechanisms in place allowing for the exchange of that information. The Global Forum's peer review process examines both the legal and regulatory aspects of exchange (Phase 1 reviews) and the exchange of information in practice (Phase 2). The EOI Portal will track the development of these peer reviews, including changes that jurisdictions make in response to the Global Forum's recommendations.

Peer Review: Panama Supplementary Review

This report for Panama has been published on 24 Apr 2014. You can browse it online below.

Skip directly to the Executive Summary. You may also want to view the tables of determinations and ratings.


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Determinations and Recommendations

Jurisdictions should ensure that ownership and identity information for all relevant entities and arrangements is available to their competent authorities. (ToR A.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is not in place.   Under Panamanian legislation, the provisions that ensure availability of information on the owners of bearer shares will not be effective until August, 2018.  The Panamanian authorities should ensure that the information regarding the holders of bearer shares is available as quickly as possible. 
The ‘know your client’ rules that are created by Law 2 of 2011 do not clearly ensure the availability of information on all of the owners of companies or beneficiaries of foundations and do not have full effect until 2016. Further, unless a Sociedad Anónima is subject to audit by the tax authorities there appears to be no mechanism to ensure that the stock register is kept up to date, or at all.  The relevant provisions of Panama’s laws should clearly ensure the availability of information on all of the owners of companies and beneficiaries of foundations.  
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
Jurisdictions should ensure that reliable accounting records are kept for all relevant entities and arrangements. (ToR A.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is not in place.   Only companies and partnerships operating in Panama are required to maintain accounting records.  The record keeping requirements in the Commercial Code should apply to all companies, limited partnerships and partnerships limited by shares registered in Panama irrespective of whether they carry on business in Panama. 
The Trust Law and Foundations Law are silent on the type of records which are required to be kept and their retention period.  The record keeping requirements for trusts and foundations should be clarified to ensure that reliable accounting records are kept and retained for a period of five years. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
Banking information should be available for all account-holders. (ToR A.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
Competent authorities should have the power to obtain and provide information that is the subject of a request under an exchange of information arrangement from any person within their territorial jurisdiction who is in possession or control of such information (irrespective of any legal obligation on such person to maintain the secrecy of the information). (ToR B.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
The rights and safeguards (e.g. notification, appeal rights) that apply to persons in the requested jurisdiction should be compatible with effective exchange of information. (ToR B.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
Exchange of information mechanisms should provide for effective exchange of information. (ToR C.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.   Four of Panama’s 25 agreements establish identification requirements for the person concerned and/or the holder of information which are inconsistent with the standard for effective exchange of information.  Panama should ensure that the identification requirements in all of its agreements are in line with the standard for effective exchange of information.  
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
The jurisdictions' network of information exchange mechanisms should cover all relevant partners. (ToR C.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   Panama has been approached by some jurisdictions to negotiate a DTC or TIEA and has so far not entered into negotiations with them.  Panama should enter into agreements for exchange of information (whether DTCs, TIEAs or multilateral instruments) with all relevant partners, meaning those partners who are interested in entering into an information exchange arrangement with it. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
The jurisdictions' mechanisms for exchange of information should have adequate provisions to ensure the confidentiality of information received. (ToR C.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
The exchange of information mechanisms should respect the rights and safeguards of taxpayers and third parties. (ToR C.4)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
The jurisdiction should provide information under its network of agreements in a timely manner. (ToR C.5)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The assessment team is not in a position to evaluate whether this element is in place, as it involves issues of practice that are dealt with in the Phase 2 review.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations