Saturday, February 02, 2008

Special tax benefits for investments in the Darien

Darien is the largest province of Panama but also the most isolated. Most of the riverfront of the Tuira river has been declared as Tourism Development Zone No. 9 with substantial tax benefits for the investor.

Business exceeding the minimum legal investment enjoy the following tax incentives:
1. A 20-year full exemption from the payment of real property tax on the land or any improvements owned and being used for tourist development activities.
2. A 15-year full exemption from the payment of income tax on the company's activities.
3 A 20-year full exemption import duties, contributions, or taxes, as well as the sales tax (ITBM tax) on the imported materials, equipment, furniture, accessories, and spare parts used to construct, renovate, and furnish their establishments, provided such items are not produced locally, or are not produced in sufficient quantity or of the proper quality. "Equipment" is understood to mean vehicles with a minimum capacity of 8 passengers, aircraft, helicopters, minimum capacity of 8 passengers, aircraft, helicopters, motorboats, ships, or sports supplies used exclusively for tourist activities.
4. A 20-year exemption from duties, contributions, taxes, or fees on the use to piers or airports built by the company. The Government of Panama may use these facilities free of charges, according to the appropriated regulations.
5. A 20-year exemption from the payment of income tax in interest earned by creditors from operations for investing in the tourist activity being conducted.

Any public tourist lodging company or restaurant not covered by the above incentives, but solely engaged in a tourist activity; is entitled to a Tourism Employment Certificate (Certificado de Empleo al Turismo-CET) issued to its name, equivalent to 21.5% of the gross monthly payroll as of the promulgation of this Law, provided this gross monthly payroll does not exceed US$400.00). In the case of restaurants, this option shall be for a period of 3 years.

Private land ownership is limited in Darien National Park (brown, in the map) and the Indian nations (marked in red), but alternatives remain throughout the province.

Most investments qualifying for the Darien Tourism Development Zone benefits also would help its foreign owner qualify for a Small Business Visa.

Zone 9. Darien

Location:Province of Darien
Characteristics:The National Park of Darien which is ideal for ecological and tourism of adventure. It was declared by UNESCO as a Reserve of the Biosphere and the Human Kind.
Strategy:To develop ecotourism centers in Pirre and in the Cana Valley.
Investment Possibilities:To increase the capacity of lodgings and to improve the quality of the services to the tourist.

More about the Darien in Darien links

Darien, the giant is awakening

In Darien there are different ethnic groups.

The government is promoting sustainable development projects to tap the great potential of the province in all fields


Full text in

The real Darien starts at El Real de Santa María, the oldest continuing settlement in Panama, built in the XVI century by the Spaniards. In town, the Hotel El Nazareno (left, Telephone 228 3673, 6638 8707; $5-10– $10-15) offers basic accommodation, but be warned this is the heart of cock-fighting country so don't expect a great night's sleep; you'll also find a few stores and a couple of simple restaurants – inform them in advance if you want an evening meal. ("The Rough Guide to Central America")

Video: The Art of Travel Blog #4: The Darien.

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