Panama has commenced its automatic exchange of information (AEOI) reporting in order to meet OECD global standards, the government has announced. The country will be exchanging information with 31 countries.
The first exchange happened on September 28, with the country proving 660 reports from 337 jurisdictions just two days before the OECD’s agreed deadline for the country to comply with its commitments on financial transparency.
Thus far, Panama has committed to exchanging information with jurisdictions including Australia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the UK.
Panama’s Chief Financial Officer, David Hidalgo, said that more jurisdictions will be included in the exchange next year, adding that it is important for the country to “respect these standards and our commitments, so as not to be on a black list of tax havens.”
The country’s move to comply with global OECD standards has not come without controversy. In August this year, the Colombian Minister of Finance claimed that Panama had failed to comply with information exchange agreements, while earlier this week the Pakistani Federal Board of Revenue named Panama as one of 11 jurisdictions currently refusing to exchange information with the country.
The Panamanian government is, however, attempting to further its public progress in combatting money laundering, with the parliament currently considering a tax evasion bill supported by the International Monetary Fund. If approved, the bill would see a penalty of five years’ imprisonment for tax evasion above the sum of USD300,000.