In December 2016, Panama joined the Latin American e-Invoicing trend and presented its first roadmap for its design and implementation. It has been legally permissible since 19 September 2018 and is based on the provisions of Resolution No 201-5784 of the Tax Authorities DGI.
Currently, only 43 companies are allowed to use e-invoicing. At the end of the pilot phase, DGI will announce a date from which all other companies will be able to join the e-Invoicing process.
The background of the initiative is to improve e-commerce, business opportunities and digital transactions in Panama. In particular, it aims to increase competitiveness by lowering costs, with e-invoicing expected to save as much as $ 400 million a year in equipment purchase and maintenance, and in printing and storing invoices.
To ensure that the decisions taken throughout the project meet the needs of the private and public sector, project planning has established a governance mechanism to ensure such participation. Based on this, the following organization was founded:
- Executive Committee
- Technical Committee
- Regulatory Committee
The Panama electronic invoicing model is based on four pillars:
- Simplification of tax obligations
- Promotion of electronic commerce
- Cost reduction for companies
- The protection of the environment
For small and micro businesses Panama provides a free system that can be operated from any computer or mobile device.
To test the system for large companies, a pilot project was started with 43 voluntary companies. Once this phase ends in 2019, the voluntary mass introduction of electronic financial reporting will take place from 2020 onwards.
Unlike the e-invoicing systems of other Latin American countries, end users in Panama are not required to identify with their personal information in order to receive electronic invoices.
What is e-Invoicing in Panama?
As in the other Latin American countries, Panama’s electronic bill is an electronic document or file (XML format) containing information about the transfer of goods and services. After the seller has created and signed them electronically, it is also electronically approved by the DGI. The electronic signature gives legal validity to the electronic file and the approval of the DGI gives it tax validity. The document may represent an invoice, debit or credit.
How can e-invoicing be used?
To use the new system, businesses and end users must make computer adjustments to the bill-to-pay system. DGI provides a technical data sheet for this purpose: https://dgi.mef.gob.pa/facturaElectronica.html
Which format must the electronic invoice have?
The seller must deliver the electronic invoice in one of the following ways:
- The invoice file (XML) can be sent together with the authorization code of the DGI to the customer’s e-mail
- Alternatively, the bill file (XML) can be used to generate additional proof of the electronic invoice (Comprobante Auxiliar de Factura Electrónica, CAFE), which can then be used as a digital file or in hard copy
What does the CAFE consist of?
The Additional Proof of Electronic Bill (Comprobante Auxiliar de Factura Electrónica, CAFE) is similar to current printed invoices. It contains the information of the seller (issuer), the buyer (receiver), the details of the articles, subtotals and totals including taxes.
In addition, however, the following information must be provided:
- CUFE: Unique electronic billing code that uniquely identifies an electronic bill in Panama. This code contains, among other things, data such as the issuer’s RUC number, the branch code, the billing point, the issue date and the serial number of the invoice.
- QR Code: This is a graphical representation of CUFE and other information that allows the user to go directly to the DGI page from any mobile device (mobile phone or tablet) to verify that the bill has been duly authorized.
- DGI Authorization Code: A unique authorization number provided by the DGI on the invoice when the issuer sends it electronically for validation.
How can the electronic invoice be checked?
To check if an invoice is valid, its QR code can be scanned and checked to see if it is in the DGI register. If the invoice is received as an XML file, the check can also be made electronically via the web services. If an invoice has been issued in error, the exhibitor may cancel it and inform the buyer about this action.
How can the electronic bill be rejected?
The acceptance, partial or total rejection of an electronic bill may be made in one of the following ways:
- Through a web service if you want to receive the invoice in XML format or if you already have an electronic invoice
- Through the DGI’s electronic invoicing web portal (https://dig-fep.mef.gob.pa), using the RUC and NIT as credentials and selecting the recipient manifestation registration option
- Signed at the bottom of the printed CAFE
These regulatory changes could affect your business with view to customizing or support of your ERP/SAP system. Please contact us to learn about possible necessary reactions to the changes – we are happy to assist you!