The State of Electronic Invoicing in Panama
Panama began the implementation of electronic invoicing in 2016 with the establishment of the Panamanian Electronic Invoicing System (SFEP).
The SFEP rollout was composed of 4 phases: Design, Construction, Voluntary Pilot Plan and Widespread Adoption. Following completion of the Pilot Plan, in which 43 companies participated, the system is expected to enter the voluntary adoption phase in 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.
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
XML electronic format according to the Technical File established by the DGI.
Each invoice must be identified with a Unique Electronic Invoice Code (CUFE).
Both inbound and outbound electronic invoices must be stored for 5 years, until the ITBMS or VAT contributions are fulfilled.
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.