The Assembly has approved a law granting administrative autonomy to municipalities and has eliminated appraisals of properties declared as official, as established by Law 8 of 2010.
Prensa.com reports that "... The document approved amends Article 770 of the Tax Code, so that once the project is sanctioned, the general and partial assessments are made in compliance with the requirements established by the National Directorate of Cadastral Information and Valuation by the National Authority of Land Management (Anati ), provided that they meet a schedule properly structured in accordance with the procedures established by the standard. "
An article has been removed from the Law on Public Decentralization which granted municipalities the freedom to set and collect fees on property appraisals.
The Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture of Panama has expressed its opposition to Article 113 of the Bill of Public Decentralization, which stated that "... the municipality has the power to fix and collect fees on the contribution of valuation or revaluation of land , common land or immovable property located in the geographical area of the district. "
A proposal has been made to change the tax exemption bracket from over $30,000 to $120,000 and for the rate for amounts above that figure to be set at 0.25%.
Although the process of cadastral appreciation in the capital city was suspended in November 2013, the private sector claims that the rule remains in effect and proposes amending it in order to minimize the impact of appraisals in the payment of property tax.
Business groups are working on the definition of an alternative to the Government's policy to value properties according to their commercial value.
An article in Prensa.com reports that as an example José Luis Ford, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap) noted that the position of the chamber is "to search for a more 'real' number, because the value used (commercial value for determining the registry value) does not match reality."
After having reached an agreement on prices with the users of the CFZ, the government of Panama introduced in the National Assembly the Colon Free Zone bill.
Panamaamerica.com reports that "After several months of negotiations between the administration of the Colon Free Zone and users, a consensus was reached as to the value of the land according to the appraisals."
Users of the Colon Free Zone in Panama are no longer required to purchase the lot which they currently lease and if they choose to continue renting the amount charged in the first five years can not exceed 10% per year of what they currently pay.
At the end of the first five years, rents can be updated every two years according to the consumer price index, indicated the Zone's Users Association (AU in Spanish).
The valuation of the lots has produced values described by businessmen as "very high".
An article in Prensa.com reports “the most expensive lots are concentrated in the old part of the free zone, with valuations of between $400 and $925 thousand. Te cheaper lots are in France Field, Coco Solito, Coco Solo and the future development area. These areas were built on filled-in sea and mangrove swamps. "
A bill will allow the sale of the land in the Colon Free Zone to companies who are currently renting the spaces they occupy.
The government plans to gain revenues of $100 million from the sale of land in the Colon Free Zone, while acknowledging that it still does not know "how much will be raised in total because there have been no commercial appraisals of the land," according to the minister Frank De Lima.
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