Panama’s parliament passed a bill on Monday that elevates tax evasion to a criminal offense, in a move the goverment hopes will enable the country to stay on the right side of international regulators.
Just two days later, the European Commission (EC) added Panama to its blacklist of countries deemed “uncooperative” on money laundering.
The new law in Panama classifies evasion of taxes worth $300,000 or more as a crime, and will impose prison sentences of between two and five years for crimes deemed to be fraudulent. Those found guilty of the offence will also be liable for charges of between two and ten times the total sum evaded.
Law 70/2019, which was sanctioned by president Juan Carlos Varela, will leave the Bahamas as the only jurisdiction in the region not to categorise tax evasion as a criminal offence.
Panamanian legislator José Antonio Domínguez, of the ruling Partido Panameñista