During the last months, various tax regulations have been emerging that deal with the subject of forms or methods of invoicing in Panama.
On this occasion, we will refer to Law 256, published in the Official Gazette on November 26, 2021.
Here are 7 points to consider:
Invoice as executive title
The Law in question modifies with its first article Law No. 76 of 1976, in its article 11. The third paragraph of said article indicates that “the electronic invoice issued through the Electronic Invoicing System of Panama, according to the regulations the Executive Body (…) gives merit of executive title to the holder or bearer of the electronic invoice… ”
This means that the demand that is made in the courts of justice to collect the electronic invoice, could be made through an executive process that is faster than an ordinary process. This can be very positive for the merchant that issues the invoice and that has difficulties to collect it. However, the Decree that will regulate this figure needs to be issued in order to use it.
New sign in the trade
The third paragraph, of paragraph 4, of the aforementioned article 11, of Law No. 76 of 1976 establishes a new obligation for “all establishments for the sale of goods or services to consumers”. As the rule refers to sales or services to consumers, distributors and companies that exclusively serve other companies seem to escape this obligation.
This new sign must indicate the billing method used by the trade and the corresponding sanctions, for which the Law instructs the General Directorate of Revenues (DGI) to establish through a Resolution the parameters that must be considered. We must wait for this regulation.
Electronic Invoice for new companies
Paragraph 6 of the same article 11 of Law No. 76 of 1976 indicates that “as of January 1, 2022, every new Single Taxpayer Registry must use the Electronic Invoicing System of Panama as a means of billing.”
The Single Taxpayer Registry, which is commonly known as RUC and obtaining it means registering with the DGI in order to comply with the corresponding tax obligations. The Electronic Billing System of Panama has two modalities: One is through a Qualified Authorized Provider (private company) and the other is through a Free Invoice (which has limitations).
As can be seen, the law does not distinguish between natural or legal persons, that is, it applies to professionals, merchants, companies and in general to any taxpayer who registers with the DGI as of January 1, 2022.
On the other hand, the date to be considered is that of the registration in the RUC, not the date of incorporation in the case of a public limited company, nor the date of the notice of operations, nor the date on which the first invoice is issued, in the case of a professional. that he could do manual invoices. It means that who, for some reason, being able to enroll in the RUC in 2021, does so in 2022, loses the opportunity to use a fiscal invoice and only has the option of issuing an electronic invoice.
Liberal professions must use electronic or fiscal invoice.
A paragraph 3 was added to article 12 of Law No. 76 of 1976 that indicates that “the Executive Branch will establish the calendar for the adoption of authorized fiscal teams or the Electronic Invoicing System of Panama” for some activities that up to now they were exempt from the use of tax equipment.
Among the activities that should begin to issue tax or electronic invoices we can mention the services provided in the exercise of liberal, artisan and artistic professions (number 5) and the leasing of real estate (number 6). These activities could be documented with manual invoices. At this point it is worth clarifying that it is not a new tax, only the method they must use to invoice changes.
New reporting agents
To the same article 12 of Law No. 76 of 1976, a 5 paragraph was added, by means of which “reporting agents are appointed in order to assist in the event of non-compliance with the obligation to bill.” These reporting agents will be the entities that apply withholding of 50% or 100% of the Tax on the Transfer of Goods, Furniture and Services (Itbms).
The Law does not give more parameters in relation to these reporting agents, and it is expected that through regulations, aspects such as the way to report, the times to do so, the penalties for non-compliance, etc. will be developed. What emerges from the law is that they must report the breach of the obligation to bill, so these reporting agents, if they receive invoices from their suppliers that do not comply with the legal requirements, they must report it, surely to the DGI. Goodbye to invoices in Excel.
The State will only receive electronic invoices
The second paragraph of the aforementioned paragraph 5 of Article 12 of Law No. 76 of 1976 states that “as of July 30, 2022, all public entities are obliged to receive only as a valid document (…) the electronic invoice .
This type of taxpayer must consider that two different billing methods cannot be used simultaneously, so if you currently use a fiscal invoice, you must renounce this method to adopt an electronic invoice, in case you have the State as a customer.
Article 3 of this law 256 of 2021 grants the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) the “power to carry out a tax lottery or any other mechanism to promote and encourage compliance with taxpayer billing obligations.”
This type of initiative seeks that the buyer requests an invoice to participate in the lottery, thus forcing the seller to invoice and therefore pay taxes. It is a positive rule for tax compliant.
As can be seen, there are still issues to be regulated, but one thing is clear: electronic invoicing is here to stay.
Mario A. Beccabunco