Panama: Convention On Administrative Mutual Assistance In Tax Matters

Law N° 5 Of 21 February 2017

"Whereby the Convention on Administrative Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters is approved, made in Strasbourg on January 25, 1988, as amended by the Protocol of Amendment, made in Paris on May 27, 2010"

AREA OF APPLICATION

The Parties shall provide mutual administrative assistance in tax matters. Such assistance may include, as appropriate, measures taken by judicial bodies.

MAIN ASPECTS

  • Such administrative assistance shall include:

    1. exchange of information, including simultaneous fiscal auditing and participation in auditing abroad;
    2. assistance in the collection, including the establishment of precautionary measures; and
    3. notice or transfer of documents.
    The Parties shall provide administrative assistance, whether the affected person is a resident or national of a Part or of any other State.
  • The convention applies to the following taxes:

    1. Income or profit taxes, capital gains taxes, taxes on net patrimony, required by one of the Parties.
    2. Income tax, profits, capital gains or net patrimony required by political subdivisions or local authorities of one Party. Social Security mandatory contributions payable to the general government or to the social security institution.
    3. Taxes on other categories, except duties enforceable on behalf of one Party.

Exchange of Information

  • Exchange of Information by request: The required State must grant the requiring State, any information referred to in the paragraph above related to specific persons or transactions.
  • Automatic exchange of information: With respect to categories of cases and in accordance with procedures to be determined by mutual agreement, two or more Parties shall automatically exchange information.
  • Spontaneous exchange of information: A Party, without prior request, shall transmit to another Party the information known to it.

Audits

  • Simultaneous Tax Audits: Agreement between two or more Parties to simultaneously examine, each in its own territory, the fiscal situation of a person or persons in whom they have a common or related interest, with the purpose of exchanging any relevant information that they obtain.
  • Foreign Tax Audits: At the request of the competent authority of the requesting State, the competent authority of the requested State may permit the representatives of the competent authority of the requesting State to be present for the part of the fiscal audit deemed appropriate in the requesting State.

Collection Assistance

  • Collection of Tax Credits. At the request of the requesting State, the requested State shall take the necessary measures to recover the tax credits of the first-mentioned State as if it were its own tax credits. This will only apply to tax credits subject to an instrument that allows their enforceability.

Precautionary measures

  • Upon request of the requesting State, the requested State must, in order to obtain the collection of a tax, take precautionary measures even if the claim has been contested or is not subject to an instrument that allows its enforceability.

Answers to the request for assistance

  • If the request for assistance is fulfilled, the requested State shall inform the requesting State of the action taken and the outcome of the assistance as soon as possible. If rejected, the requested State shall inform the requesting State of that decision and the reason for it, as soon as possible.
  • The provisions of the Convention shall not be interpreted as imposing on the requested State the obligation to:

    1. Carry out measures contrary to its legislation.
    2. Carry out measures that would be contrary to public order.
    3. Provide information which it cannot obtain in accordance with its own law or administrative practice or in accordance with the law or administrative practice of the requesting State.
    4. Provide information that could disclose any commercial, business, industrial, commercial or professional secret or a commercial proceeding or information the disclosure of which may be contrary to public order.
    5. Grant administrative assistance if it considers that taxation in the requesting State is contrary to the generally accepted tax principle or to the provisions of a convention to avoid double taxation or any other agreement concluded by the requested State with the requesting State.
    6. Grant administrative assistance for the purpose of administering or enforcing a provision of the tax law of the requesting State, or any requirement therefor that discriminates against a national of the requested State in respect of a requesting State national in the same circumstances.
    7. Provide administrative assistance if the requesting State has not used all reasonable measures available in accordance with its administrative law or practice, except when recourse to such measures may give rise to disproportionate difficulties.
    8. Grant assistance in recovery in cases where the administrative burden of that State is clearly disproportionate to the benefit to be obtained by the requesting State.

Confidentiality

  • Any information obtained for a Party under this Convention shall be kept confidential and shall be protected in the same manner as information obtained under the domestic law of that Party. Such information may, in any case, be disclosed only to the persons or authorities responsible for determining, taking or collecting the taxes of that Party, the declaratory or executive procedures relating to said taxes or the resolution of appeals relating to the same or the supervision of the above.  Only these persons may use the information, and only for the purposes indicated.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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