On February 18, the Economy and Finance Subcommittee began its treatment of bill 229, setting out the details of the obligatory income tax to be levied on all companies operating from digital platforms, presented by Congressman Raúl Pineda (Partido Revolucionario Democrático – ruling party). The text was made public at the hearing, also attended by private sector experts and civil society representatives. Although no amendments were debated at this point, this is likely to occur during the next sub-committee meeting.
This was also the first opportunity to present the bill to the parties affected, who will develop more proposals and consultations to be addressed at the next meeting. The roster of companies included private digital transport service companies such as Uber, as well as representatives from the National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP, for its acronym in Spanish) who declared their intention of presenting proposals for changes in the short term. There were also representatives from the General Tax Directorate (DGI, for its acronym in Spanish) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry present.
In the words of Congressman Pineda, the draft bill “seeks to establish equal tax justice for all Panamanians” by obliging “those generating income to pay taxes.” The members of the subcommittee explained that this was the first opportunity to hear the content of the initiative, and that the round of hearings with interested parties will continue with opportunities to receive proposals for modifications.