I get many questions regarding the property tax issue and this article by "My Panama Attorney" does a great job of explaining the current status of this somewhat misunderstood benefit. Promoters and agents usually tell prospective buyers that they get a 20 years tax exemption, but there are a lot of "buts" which they rarely disclose and probably don't understand.
If you have a further questions you might address it to the author of the article. Although the article is from January 2008, I don;t believe any changes have been made since then.http://mensual.prensa.com/mensual/contenido/2007/12/23/hoy/negocios/1214905.html a new law has been approved by the Legislature to extend the number of projects with a 20-year property tax exemption.
To qualify for this exemption:
a) the BUILDING permit has been issued before July 1, 2009, AND
b) the REGISTRATION of improvements in the Public Registry is completed BEFORE December 31, 2011.
Since registration can take around 1 week, in practice the Occupation Permit would be from 1 week before, in order to comply with the deadline for registration.
There is no actual extension for new projects. The projects already allowed to be built before September 1, 2006, are given extra time to reach the Occupation Permit stage and enjoy the 20-year benefit. The law will only enter into force when signed by the President and published in the Official Gazette http://www.gacetaoficial.gob.pa As of now, Bill 386 "Whereby article 81 of Law 6 of 2005, article 27 of Law Decree 9 of 1987 and section G of article 2 of Law 63 of 1993 are reformed" has not been enacted.
The text of the bill can be downloaded in PDF files (Yahoo registration required):