Why residency matters

Article

The concept of residency is defined by Panamanian Law in Law 33 of June 30th, 2010, as amended by Law 52 of August 28th, 2012. The necessity for such a definition arises principally from the signing of conventions for the avoidance of double taxation (DTCs) by the Republic of Panama for the avoidance of double taxation, as well as to assist the government in pursuing its national strategy regarding the development of Panama’s international services.

In particular, Article 762-N of the Panamanian Tax Code establishes that tax residents are those individuals who remain on Panamanian territory for more than 183 days, or who have established their permanent homes in the country. Furthermore, legal entities constituted in accordance with Panamanian Laws, or constituted as foreign entities registered with Panama’s Public Registry, which have their place of effective management in the Republic of Panama, are also considered tax residents.

In order to qualify for the benefits set forth in a DTC, there is typically a prerequisite that a Certificate of Residence is obtained.

In Panama, Certificates of Residence are currently issued by the Department of International Taxation, a division of the Republic of Panama’s Tax Authority.

It should be noted that at present the Department of International Taxation has the power to issue additional Certificates of Residence as a proof of the legal and fiscal relationship an entity has with the Republic of Panama; this power may be utilized even in the absence of a DTC.

Finally, it is important to recognize that whenever a person requires a Certificate of Residence issued by the Panamanian Tax Authority, the request must contain sufficient proof that the applicant  is indeed a resident of the Republic of Panama.  Such proof must adhere to the criteria mentioned above.