Executive Branch enacts law on electronic invoicing and unifies legislation regulating the special Free Port system in Colón
26 noviembre 2021


On November 26, the Executive Branch enacted the law that seeks to generalize the use of electronic invoicing through Panama’s Electronic Invoicing System (SEFP in Spanish), reaching operations and services performed by banks and other financial institutions. The regulation is already in force. On the other hand, different legislations referring to the special system of Free Port in the province of Colon, which has a special tax and customs system that allows the goods entering the country to be exempted from different taxes, were unified in a single law.

Adoption of electronic invoice

The regulation referring to the electronic invoice modifies Law 76, which adopts several tax measures. Thus, it establishes that as from January 1, 2022, all new Single Taxpayer Registry (RUC in Spanish) must use the SEFP as a means of invoicing. In line with this, it indicates that the Executive Branch will be the one to establish the calendar for the adoption of the SFEP for companies within the free or free zones, among others. 

On the other hand, it states that in order to accredit any operation related to the transfer, sale of goods and rendering of services by residents in the national territory, the issuance of an invoice or equivalent document will be mandatory. In this sense, it indicates that this will apply regardless of the form of transfer, sale of goods or rendering of services, or the form of payment. It also establishes penalties for non-compliance with tax obligations. For example, it mentions that if invoices or receipts that comply with the established requirements are not issued, a fine of USD 5,000 to USD 10,000 will be applied. Also, buyers of goods and services who have not requested the issuance of an invoice, physical or digital, when leaving the commercial establishment will be sanctioned.

Special Free Port System in Colon

The new single text referring to the Free Port zone unifies Law 29 that adopts the special system in the province of Colon and its reforms, established in Law 7 of 2016 and Law 60 of 2018. With this, all the amendments made are in the same document to facilitate their interpretation. 

The regulation establishes, in the territory of the province of Colon, a special fiscal and customs system with a Free Port structure, except for the areas subject to the Colon Free Zone regime. Among the benefits established, it indicates that all merchandise introduced will be exempted from import duties, the tax on the Transfer of Movable Goods and the Provision of Services (ITBMS in Spanish), and the selective consumption tax, among others. It also indicates that merchants and/or importers of merchandise or products must keep a system of registration and control of the movement of entry, exit and existence of such products.