LAW 8 Special incentives for development of the tourist industry in Panama
|The following laws were also passed to motivate the development of the tourist industry. May I bring special attention to Article 17 of these laws. Not only has the government Panama passed a host of generous laws for the investor, Article 17 pertains to the Areas of Special Interest designated by the government. Volcan, Boquete and Bocas del Torro are located in just such an area and qualifies under this article. The government of Panama once again is bending over backwards to create incredible incentives for investment and retirement and demonstrates that Panama intends to be put on the international tourist map. For further information, contact IPAT through the above mentioned Web site.|
|CHAPTER III INCENTIVES AND BENEFITS|
Article 8 For the purpose of encouraging investment in new projects and activities to offer tourist facilities, the following tax incentives are granted to natural persons or companies covered by the provisions of this Law:
1. Public Tourist Lodging: The following incentives are granted for the construction, furnishing, and efficient development of the public lodging establishments covered by Article 6, 1, of this Law, in which a minimum, not including the cost of the land, of three hundred thousand (US$300,000.00) must be invested if these lodgings are located in the metropolitan area, and fifty thousand (US$50,000.00) if they are located in the rest of the Republic of Panama, except in the case of inns and bed and breakfasts, for which the minimum investment shall be set by IPAT.
Article 9 A natural person or company may treat as tax deductible any investment it makes in the restoration, maintenance, or lighting of Historic Landmarks, municipal parks, national parks, or public site; also, any investment made in tourist promotion or education considered by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury in coordination with IPAT; as activities that encourage the development of tourism.
Article 10 The following tax incentive is granted to companies engaged exclusively as operators of incoming tourism in the Republic of Panama: Exoneration, every three (3) years, from import duties on microbuses, limousines, vessels, and their spare parts, provided they are so certified by IPAT as indispensable for the proper operation of tourist services. Such equipment may be resold upon payment of the appropriate duties.
Article 11 Natural persons or companies providing mass transportation to tourists at airports, piers, and hotels are exonerated from import duties on automotive vehicles exclusively destined to tourist activities, as approved by IPAT.
Article 12 Companies engaged in restaurant, discotheque, or nightclub activities that have been certified by IPAT as being of tourist interest, in which a minimum investment has been made, not including the cost of the land, of one hundred twenty thousand (US$120,000.00) if located in the metropolitan area, and of a minimum of twenty thousand (US$20,000.00) if located in the rest of the territory of the Republic of Panama, are exonerated for a period of three (3) years as of the date of their registration in the National Tourism Registry (Registro Nacional de Turismo), from import duties on the materials, equipment, and appliances used in the construction and furnishing of such establishments, provided they are not produced locally, or are not produced locally in sufficient quantity or of the proper quality, and are considered by IPAT as important for the development of such activities.
Article 13 The following benefits are granted to any company conducting activities within the territory of the Republic of Panama for the filming of international feature films or artistic, sports, or any other type of international events to be broadcast abroad, that include spots promoting tourism in the Republic of Panama prior to, during, or at the end of such event.
Article 14 All tourism publicity material is exonerated from import duties, provided it is distributed free of charge, subject to inspection by IPAT. IPAT shall have a period of fifteen (15) working days to approve or object to the material to which this article refers. Article 15. Income derived from the following activities is exonerated from income tax:
Article 16 The following tax incentives are granted for the construction, furnishing, building of access infrastructures, restoration, and operation of convention centers, recreational parks, zoos, tourist and eco-tourism resorts, and marinas:
Article 17 At the request of IPAT, the Panama Cabinet Council may declare as tourist development zones of national interest those areas that meet the requirements as special tourist attractions, but lack the basic infrastructure to develop such activities. Parties investing in a tourist development zone, who meet the established minimum investment, shall enjoy the following tax incentives:
Article 18 Any public tourist lodging company or restaurant not covered by the above articles, but solely engaged in a tourist activity outside the metropolitan area according to this law shall have the option of being entitled to a Tourism Employment Certificate (Certificado de Empleo al Turismo - CET) issued in its name, equivalent to twenty-one and a half per cent (21.5%) of the gross monthly payroll as of the promulgation of this law, provided this gross monthly payroll does not exceed four hundred (US$400.00). In the case of restaurants this option shall be for a period of three (3) years.
Article 19 CET'S, as contemplated in this Law, shall be issued in Panamanian currency by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, and may be applied to the payment of income, dividend, complementary, real property, or sales taxes, as well as import duties. These are nominal certificates transferable by endorsement. They are exempt from all types of taxes, and may not earn interest.
Article 20 To be entitled to CET's, companies must meet all the requirements set forth in this Law. CET's may be used six (6) months after their date of issue, but not within the same year of issue. They shall be valid for a period of three (3) years from their issue date.
Article 21 Wages of foreign employees, or those for any employment period of less than twelve (112) months may not be included in the payroll for the purposes of calculating the CET's established herein. Payroll control procedures shall be established.
Article 22 Natural persons or companies engaged in tourist activities may use their vehicles to transport their own materials, furniture, or equipment. They may also provide tourist transportation service to their facilities, and to and from airports and seaports.
Article 23 In order to encourage investment and financing for the development of the tourist industry and the construction of hotels outside the metropolitan area, public tourist lodging companies may issue nominal tourist investment instruments until January 1, 2000. The following incentive is granted to investors in these instruments who are not connected directly or indirectly with public tourist lodging, are not the result of the division of a company into several companies, or affiliates or subsidiaries of tourist companies: For income tax purposes, fifty per cent (50%) of the amounts invested by natural persons or companies in the purchase of bonds, shares of stock, or other nominal instruments issued by tourist companies may be considered as deductible expenses. The Ministry of Finance and Treasury (Ministerio de Hacienda y Tesoro) shall regulate the application of this article. Companies registered with the National Tourism Registry (Registro Nacional de Turismo) must register, any bonds, shares of stock, or other financial instruments with Panama's National Securities Commission, and must issue them within the first three (3) years from its registration. A company issuing such bonds, shares of stock, or other nominal instruments may not redeem them in any manner whatsoever for at least ten (10) years. Any bonds or instruments issued by a tourist company shall be valid for a minimum period of ten (10) years, and may not be redeemed earlier. These companies may not purchase their own shares of stock, contributions, or convertible bonds, and may not grant loans to the holders of any such bonds, shares of stock, or nominal instruments; nor may they make use of any other mode for the purchase or payment of said financial instruments for a minimum period of ten (10) years.
Article 24 Tourist yachts calling at ports in the Republic of Panama, whose stay does not exceed ninety (90) days are exonerated from the payment of any and all types of the usual charges, taxes, or service fees upon arrival or anchorage. Customs authorities may only perform their routine inspection duties. No processing of documents by these agencies shall be required. The Executive Branch shall regulate this provision