Tax pariah Panama introduces fresh anti-avoidance measures

Panama is poised to toughen its tax fraud penalties, a year and a half after it came under worldwide scrutiny for the Panama Papers leak.

The move, reportedly approved at cabinet level, comes on the day the EU published a blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, including Panama.

The new rules appear to allow first time offenders off without sanction if they pay the tax before the first court hearing.

According to the Latin Times, the legislation stipulates “penalties up to five years and a fine of up to 10 times the amount defrauded to any persons who, for their own benefit or for the benefit of a third party, simulates, hides, omits, falsifies or deceives tax obligations with the intention of defrauding the National Treasury”.

In addition, the bill states that tax fraud will be considered when the amount defrauded in a fiscal period is equal to or exceeds $300,000 (£223,950 €253,080).

The bill also establishes “that any person who pays the amount of the defrauded tax obligation and its formal attachments unconditionally and totally, before a judgement of first instance, will be exempted from punishment”.

“This benefit will be granted only once for each natural or legal person.”

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Thomas H. Brymer II
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