As an article from La Prensa points out, the DGI (IRS) has commenced a sweep of businesses in Chiriqui province looking for tax evaders. Valle Escondido and its satellite business, have all been under scrutiny over the last week with four inspectors pouring over all our documents looking for discrepancies that may lead to fines and late payments. Our staff tells me the inspectors are very well trained and acting in a very professional manner. After all, they have been trained by ex employees of the U.S. internal revenue service according to newspaper articles from last year.
I don't believe we are being singled out, but that they are auditing the larger firms in hopes for a more significant discovery and will look into smaller firms as time allows. Fortunately our books are up to date and in order and we don't expect any discrepancies, but there is always the potential for overlooking something, especially as laws have changed so much in the last five years.
The point in all of this is that for the first time in my 15 years in Panama the government is getting serious about tax collection and is sending a loud message throughout the provinces that they will be watching and ready to audit and fine those who do not comply. Lets hope that some firms don't get preferential treatment or some of the inspectors get bought off to overlook compliance failures. Lets also hope that the money collected is put to good use and not squandered or stolen by leadership as has been the norm in the past.
RAFAEL E. BERROCAL R.
The Directorate General of Revenue (DGI) is making no secret that they are "hunting" around the country in search of possible tax evaders. "Right now, 90% of auditors are sweeping Chiriquí, since it been more than 10 years since going through such a beautiful province," said National Director of Revenue, Luis Cucalón.
The institution revealed that the audits have been able to raise $ 40 million since the start of the government of Ricardo Martinelli, and that most cases of tax evasion have been found between the Colon Free Trade Zone (FTZ) and Panama City. Although Cucalón indicates that this is a problem that is recorded in most of the country.
Until now, fines for proven cases of tax evasion amounts to $ 2 million over the past 12 months.
Cucalón strongly denied that the audits are politically motivated, but the target of the "lofty goals" of collections that have the current government. "Really, now, I have no time to see what political party is the money I need to reach the goals," added the director of national income.
Last Thursday, President Martinelli also made mention of tax audits. "There's a lot of very influential people in this country for the first time in life, is paying taxes. Many of them are people who manage and are the owners of this country. And they who are behind this campaign of misinformation and are responsible for what happened in Bocas del Toro, "the governor said in a television newscast, referring to the labor crisis in the province.
Among the companies that has been applied is media audits, such as EPA's group, and the company prostheses, commentator Juan Carlos Tapia. Recently it was confirmed that the law firm of Galindo, Arias & López (Gala) is being audited by the DGI.
In the early months of the current government, the auditors of the DGI also moved to Fidanque Hermanos e Hijos, SA, which held at that time an appeal against the bidding of the project "Internet for all." After that, the company withdrew the objection without explanation.