The Panamanian Parliament approved today in the third and final reading Bill 653 that regulates the activity of call centers for commercial use, in order to comply with international tax transparency standards of the OECD and the European Union (EU), informed an official source.
This norm guarantees the "competitiveness and diversification of the economy, attraction of direct foreign investment and its consequent positive impact on the generation of employment," said the Acting Minister of Economy and Finance, Eyda Varela.
The approved project develops the applicable tax regime, as migratory and labor requirements that apply to natural or legal persons engaged in this activity.
It also eliminates the differentiated tax treatment for internal and external operations, establishing a neutral rate of zero percent of income tax on the profit generated by the commercial operation.
In Panama, call centers for commercial use generate more than 9,000 jobs and offer the same benefits as in other countries in the region, so the legislation seeks to maintain the competitiveness of the industry, according to a Statement from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).
The initiative is seen by the MEF as a progress in its agenda that is based on four pillars: financial transparency, compliance with the international fiscal transparency standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the EU, improving the competitiveness of the Panamanian financial system and the country's risk rating.
In 2016, the call centers contributed nearly 4 million dollars to the country's economy, while the Public Services Authority of Panama (Asep) maintains the registry of more than 130 concessions for the commercial use of these call centers, according to official data cited by local media.
Last year, the EU included Panama, for a few weeks, in a new blacklist, for not having reviewed the "call center" legislation.