Panama and the United States will sign a new agreement on the exchange of tax information tomorrow

Opposition To Proposed Tax Exchange Agreement Mounts

Monday, November 29 2010 @ 11:06 AM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 300
PANAMA. Panama and the United States will sign a new agreement on the exchange of tax information tomorrow, according to local authorities, as part of a strategy to extricate the country from greylisting by member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Ignorance of the terms of this agreement triggered alerts in various sectors, especially among legal professionals and banking.
Opposing Viewpoints – An attorney and economic consultant, Carlos Ernesto González Ramírez, criticized the document and ‘the speed with which it was signed’, warning that it is not an agreement on double taxation but rather “an agreement for exchange of information.” The response from the Vice Minister of Economy and Finance Frank De Lima, was swift. “It comes to our attention that Mr. Carlos Ernesto Gonzalez claims he is not aware of these negotiations, however he participated in most of the meetings called for by the MEF,” said Deputy De Lima to La Estrella.

The Questioned Part – The MEF has reiterated that the agreement is similar to the other 13 agreements Panama has signed with other countries, however, the main point questioned by lawyers is the note that accompanies the main document. On that note, it says Panama must enact legislation before the end of next year “to honor the agreement.” What’s more, the U.S. also committed to Panama to require the identification of the holders of bearer shares, even if they have been issued ‘bearer,’ and even when the owner is a legal entity. In this regard, the lawyer Eduardo Morgan Jr. said Panama would have to limit the tax information to be sent to the United States to only those US nationals who “actually reside in the United States.” Otherwise, he warned, it would violate Article 17 of the Constitution and with it, ‘Panama lost much more than they could win. ”

Again, the Vice De Lima wields his arguments. “This exchange of information is not done automatically, but through application, where the asking country specifically requests the information it wants, why the information is required, and the period of time of the information,” he said. The signing will be held tomorrow in Washington, USA. (La Estrella)

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