martes, 1 de septiembre de 2009


Two bills of tax Reform were presented before the assembly of deputies related to Panamanian law of tax reforms. The first, called preliminary N. 21, is backed by Rep. Jose Isabel Blandonfrom the Arnulfist party (conservative). This document is called "Which establishing measures of fair taxation for the middle class."In the preamble, in a simple but loquacious way the lawmaker warns against the tendency to reduce the middle class because of the increased cost of living and the former increasing of the tax burden to the population. Congressman warns of the explosive impact that this trend may have on the country unless there is evidence of social mobility but rather a contraction of middle-income population. Hence, proposed to the assembled deputies very specific measures:1. Remove CAIR (Alternative Calculation of Income Tax) for natural persons.2. Reduce to 20% the ceiling of the tax burden (ISR) currently stands at 27% for individuals.3. Representation expenses that will join the rest of the income and do not have a different percentage.4. It states that school expenses are deductible from income tax up to an amount of $2,000.00.5. Establishing the income tax deduction of social security payments for up to 10% of annual gross income. Currently only private insurance is deducted.6. Finally, ISR provides for payment of foreigners who remain part of companies whose activities are perfected, consume and have effects offshore, but their wages earned in Panama.
Subsequently the proposal was presented by Alberto Vallarino, current Minister of Finance and member of the Arnulfist (conservative) party also specified with the number 33 and whose headline reads: "Which amending provisions of the tax code and take other measures." This project was presented by Mr. Demetrius Papadimitriu Ministry of the Presidence (and very close to President Martinelly as he was his Executive Chief of Campaign) on behalf of the Cabinet Council. The preamble to this document is opposed by the top to deputy Blandon. It doesn´t refers to the tendency to contraction of the middle class, or who have suffered asphyxia by inflation and increased taxation. On the contrary focuses on the need for the state in collecting more revenue for the network, to redistribute opportunities and debt payments so that this amount will be zero within 20 years. Then the need is noted that the most vigorous of the economy contribute to the less privileged. Finally it is stated that ITBMS in Panama is very low, since it is one of the lowest in the world. After establishing a series of fiscal measures summarized as follows:1. Adjust the estate tax and capital gains on the sale of real estate to 5% of sale price or the cadastral value, whichever is of greater benefit to the state.2. Establishing higher penalties for tax fraud in relation to property tax or the rateable value.3. Provision is made to avoid splitting of neighboring lots to avoid paying property tax.4. There shall be a fixed 20-year exemption of all improvements to the amount of $80, 000.00.5. As for games of chance tax rises 10% to 25% in the gambling rooms and 10% to 18% for full casinos.6. It increases the cigarette tax to 50%.7. Increase the cap by notice of business operations from $40, 000 to $60, 000 and extends to the Colon Free Zone.8. It extends the ITBMS payment to:a. The fixed comercial telephony b. A commission for banking, financial services and real estate.c. Commissions paid by insurance and reinsurance to third parties.d. Legal services to be provided to persons resident outside the country.e. A legal services that lend themselves to international trade ships registered in the merchant navy.In this new version does not speak of CAIR that was used in the campaign to add business, nor for all the ills that afflict the middle class that supports eloquently deputy Blandon.
Only in the first three months of collecting state revenues exceeding the budgeted at a level above $16 million. Of course this is not taken into account by this project as it is only aimed at increasing state revenues. It is considered that the problem is not that the level of tax revenues from tax in Panama is only 10% of GDP, underpinned by the government document, making it one of the lowest in Latin America. This superficial analysis ignores the structure of the Panamanian economy that is based on so-called outside of the country a"tax haven", which is rooted in the failure to pay the big tax-free zone enclaves and Financial Center . Would rather to establish what percentage amount we pay to not enjoy this benefit. What we can say is currently in Panama to 70% income tax on taxpayers to have as natural persons, while only 30 percent as companies disbursed. This is inverse to 70 against 30 firms pay in the U.S. against those paid by individuals. Also, do me a favor, neither the U.S. that in recession is still the wealthiest country in the world can claim to pay its foreign debt in 20 years. If we continue on this path, we agree with the deputy Jose Isabel Blandon that ... I quote: "If we continue down this path there will come a day that Panama will be a country where social standards lead us to inevitable social confrontations."

Photo: Felipe Argote

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