Reuters reports that Colombia has added Panama to its tax haven list, along with several other countries.
“Colombia on Wednesday declared Panama a tax haven for individuals and businesses as the government looks to curb tax evasion and seeks to pressure the Central American country to sign a financial information-sharing agreement.”
“Along with Barbados, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar were also included on the 41-country list, though they were not on it last year, as the Colombian government sought their signatures on information-sharing accords before the Oct. 7 deadline.”
And the Colombian government’s tax justice measures don’t stop there:
“Colombia’s Congress, dominated by a coalition that backs President Juan Manuel Santos, is likely to approve a package of tax reforms aimed at raising an additional $26 billion in revenue and recovering $10 billion lost to tax evasion during the next four years.
The reform would introduce prison sentences for tax evaders for the first time. Any citizen who fails to declare foreign assets worth more than 8 billion pesos ($3.9 million) could face four years in jail.”
Fox News Latino has interesting context, linking the tax measures to peace talks:
“The tax-overhaul bill submitted to Congress aims to raise more revenue to fund post-conflict development projects envisioned in draft agreements reached in peace talks between the government in Bogota and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group.”
Panama’s government, meanwhile, continued the tradition of tax havens saying we are not a tax haven (hat tip: TJN).
“Panama on Wednesday rejected its inclusion on Colombia’s list of tax havens and said it will take retaliatory action against its neighbor.”
“Panama has “a competitive and sound tax system, and therefore the national government categorically rejects any tax-haven designation,” the Central American nation’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.”
The governments of other countries now on Colombia’s tax haven list do not seem to have responded publicly yet.