Electronic Invoicing

The State of Electronic Invoicing in Panama

Electronic Invoicing Panama

Panama began the implementation of electronic invoicing in 2016 with the establishment of the Panamanian Electronic Invoicing System (SFEP).

The SFEP implementation is composed of 4 phases: Design, Construction, Voluntary Pilot Plan, and Massification. Following the completion of the Pilot Plan, in which 43 companies participated, the Panamanian e-Invoicing system has entered the voluntary massification phase as of July 1, 2021.

The Panamanian Electronic Invoicing System (SFEP) is regulated by Executive Decree No. 367. The Decree lays out the legal requirements for adoption of electronic invoicing by companies exempted from the use of Fiscal Devices by the General Revenue Directorate (DGI), Panama's tax authority.

The technical specifications are set out in the Technical File, which defines formats, procedures and standards related to electronic invoicing.

In accordance with Law 256, published on November 26, 2021, it was established that as of January 1, 2023, all new RUCs (Taxpayer Identification Numbers - TINs) must use PAC e-Invoices for invoicing.

Following the publication of Executive Decree No. 25 published on June 27, 2022, new obligated parties were established for the implementation of the Panama e-Invoicing System (SFEP) with two different implementation dates: January 2, 2023, and February 1, 2023:

•    As of January 2, 2023
- Private entities duly authorized by the Panama Maritime Authority to ensure compliance with construction, navigation, pollution prevention, and safety regulations.
- Operations that are carried out by stock and commodities exchanges.
- International public passenger transportation services by land, air, or sea.
- Domestic public passenger transportation services by air.
- Transportation services of petroleum products.
- Hostels with less than 7 rooms.
- The activity of leasing real estate under notarized contracts or registered with the Ministry of Housing by individuals or legal entities that manage their own assets.

•    As of February 1, 2023:
- Operations and general services performed by banks and other financial institutions, including financial leasing companies and investment funds.
- Companies established in free or special trade zones, such as: 
       - Baru Free Trade Zone
       - Free Trade Zones
       - Petroleum Free Zone
       - Colon Free Zone (ZLC)
       - City of Knowledge
       - Multinational Corporations Headquarters (SEM)*
       - Panama Pacific Special Economic Area (AEEPP)

*In the case of SEM companies, they may not use authorized fiscal devices to document their operations and are obliged to use the Panamanian e-Invoicing system since, by law, they are exempted from using fiscal devices.
 

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The Panamanian Electronic Invoicing System (SFRP)

At the moment the SFEP coexists with the Fiscal Devices system, which was already in place for invoice emission. Fiscal Devices are electronic appliances authorized by the DGI for use in processing, recording, and storing tax receipts. These devices are connected to fiscal cash registers which record the total amount of taxes to be declared. They also connect to fiscal printers for receipt printing.

When mass adoption of electronic invoicing in complete, Fiscal Devices will be replaced by the SFEP.

Who Can Invoice Electronically?

Any individual or legal entity that requests approval from the General Revenue Directorate (DGI) to use electronic invoices to document transfers, sale of goods and provision of services.

Characteristics of the Electronic Invoice

Format

XML electronic format according to the Technical File established by the DGI.

Tax Control

Each invoice must be identified with a Unique Electronic Invoice Code (CUFE).

Storage

Both inbound and outbound electronic invoices must be stored for 5 years, until the ITBMS or VAT contributions are fulfilled.

Electronic Signature

Issuers must apply a qualified electronic signature to the e-invoices, guaranteeing their legal validity by ensuring authenticity and non-repudiation.

Moving Toward Digital Transformation in Panama

By implementing electronic invoicing, the national government hopes to:

  • Boost the digital economy
  • Support innovation in business processes and increase competition in the private sector
  • Better facilitate tax compliance

The SFEP is part of the government's global strategy aiming to make Panama a worldwide logistics "hub".

The strategic location of the Republic of Panama, along with its attractive fiscal policies, have made it a focal point for international trade. It has become a preferred destination for multinationals to establish their Shared Service Centers.

Panama’s administrative digitization through electronic invoicing will give a great boost to its National Logistics Strategy 2030.

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