In order to strengthen Panama's financial system and further prevent it from being used for money laundering, Panama's government has announced it will present a bill during the next period of the National Assembly to criminalise tax evasion by including tax fraud in the country's Criminal Code.
Panama's Minister of Economy and Finance, Dulcidio de la Guardia, presented the bill to the Cabinet, which was approved by President Juan Carlos Varela and his Ministers after several months of debate.
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 greater than US$300,000. 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 judgment of first instance, will be exempted from punishment. This benefit will be granted only once for each natural or legal person.
The bill was prepared in consultation with a variety of associations from Panama's private sector, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Panama, and the Panamanian Association of Business Executives, among others, in order to seek consensus and address a range of suggestions on the issue.
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