Spanish version

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Panama's decision on tax sharing seen to be a positive

Economist Felipe Chapman said it would likely not have severe economic consequences on the country.

Spanish version

Temas:

Economic sectors, associations of lawyers and politicians qualified as acceptable and sensible the position of the government to implement the automatic exchange of tax information that has been promoted by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The measures were announced by Panama after the publication of articles related to the activities of the law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Economist Felipe Chapman said that the proposal made by the government to preserve the integration into the global financial system was a sensible move for Panama to make, as it will strengthen transparency in its financial and legal systems.

He said that Panama had two options in this matter, either make the changes or refuse to cooperate, which would have eventually isolated Panama from the world.

Chapman said that cooperating meant that Panama could avoid being blacklisted, which would have made it difficult for businesses to locate here.

"My intuition tells me that cooperating will have a substantially smaller impact than the other option," he said.

He indicated that agreements for the exchange of tax information were most likely going to be signed by Panama at some point anyway.

National Association of Lawyers (CNA) President José Alberto Álvarez said that Panama is in an extremely difficult position. He said that if the Foreign Ministry studies the opportunity to enter in information exchanges through bilateral treaties with signatory countries, that would be a better option. Although he recognized that refusing the OECD could have a substantial impact on Panama.

He was also clear that evading taxes is not a crime in Panama.

"Here this is not criminal behavior," he said. "This point should be made clear at the negotiating table."

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