In October 2016, the Panamanian government adopted new regulations to comply with the international commitments regarding corporate and fiscal transparency. Said regulation is no more than Law No. 52 of October 24, 2016, which created the obligation for every legal entity incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Panama and that maintains operations that have their effects outside of it (offshore), to maintain accounting records.
The aforementioned Law has been finally regulated by Executive Decree No. 258 of September 13, 2018, which clarifies the somewhat confusing points of Law 52.
Below, we list the regulations that this Executive Decree makes:
- Legal entities that exclusively dedicate themselves to be asset holders, regardless of their class, must provide information that demonstrates the value of said assets and the income received for said assets when the competent authority so requires.
- Legal entities that carry out commercial acts outside the Republic of Panama and any other person that is not exclusively an asset holder, must provide a Journal and a General Ledger, when required by the competent authority. All legal persons described in this point, will also be obliged to provide any supporting documentation and additional information required by the competent authority.
- The legal entities referred to in point 2 above, which in turn keep the accounting records and supporting documentation within the Republic of Panama, must follow the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and those issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and must be prepared and endorsed by a Certified Public Accountant of the Republic of Panama.
- The legal entities referred to in point 2 above, which in turn keep the accounting records and supporting documentation outside the Republic of Panama, may carry the information in the language in which they originate, but when the competent authority requires the information, the information must be translated into Spanish by a Certified Public Translator of Panama and at the cost of the legal person.
- Accounting records made manually in books or electronic or technological media will be accepted provided that the printing of the information can be guaranteed and are authorized by Panamanian law when they are carried by the legal entities contemplated in point 2 above, that they keep the accounting records and supporting documentation within the Republic of Panama, or in the country where they are recognized.
- If the laws of the country where the accounting records and supporting documentation are kept require that the optical systems or any other system destined for the filing of the documentation, as well as the accounting systems, be endorsed by a Certified Public Accountant or other authority, the certification must be attached with its respective translation and legalization or Apostille, when applicable.
- If the legal entity keeps its accounting records outside the Republic of Panama according to a special fiscal period, it will be obliged to support it by means of a certification that authorization the application of a special fiscal period, according to the laws of the country where the records are kept.
- The resident agent of a legal entity is obliged, even in the case of having renounced said position, to provide the contact information of the person who keeps the accounting records and the physical address where they are kept.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.