INTERNATIONAL

Panama asks to be excluded from list of tax havens

It is claiming it has made the required reforms.

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France considers Panama to be a tax haven. France considers Panama to be a tax haven. Expandir Imagen
France considers Panama to be a tax haven. Archivo

Panama's ambassador to France, Pilar Arosemena de Alemán, will represent the country's interests at a meeting scheduled for Jan. 17 to discuss the inclusion of Panama on a list of tax havens.

This is the first meeting of 2017 on the issue after the failed first-level institutional meetings that took place in 2016. But it will not be the last. Panama officials said this "will be the beginning of a series of meetings" designed to "set a roadmap" for Panama to be removed from the list.

France is asking the country for full transparency in the exchange of tax information, as well as fiscal reports relating to French taxpayers.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said in April that this is necessary to prevent French entities from avoiding taxes through offshore structures.

France also said that Panama is not able to proceed efficiently in the exchange of tax information, although Panamanian authorities have said this is not the case.

In this regard, the country recently signed the multilateral convention promoted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which extends the network of countries with which Panama commits itself to the exchange of fiscal information.

The retaliatory measures by France for inclusion on the list seek to discourage commercial transactions between companies or individuals resident in France and Panamanian companies.

In this sense, a deduction of payments for interest, royalties and other remunerations paid to subjects in Panama is foreseen. So if a French company makes a payment to a Panamanian company, the expense can not be deducted, which discourages the companies to carry out transactions with their Panamanian peers.

France had removed Panama from the list in 2012, but re-instated it after the publication of the records of the law firm Mossack Fonseca.

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