Recently, through Act 16 dated 27th April 2012 which repeals Law 36 of 2007 (former film and audiovisual industry legislation), the Panamanian government approved a Special Scheme for the film and audiovisual industry,
The objective of this law is to promote the development of the film and audiovisual industry, to protect and preserve the Panamanian audiovisual heritage, to stimulate an audiovisual culture and to establish a special system that provides incentives and benefits to those who perform this activity within the Panamanian territory, in order to attract more specific foreign investment.
Among the new features introduced in this legislation we can highlight the creation of a new system of benefits and of tax immigration and labor incentives and the creation of the National Productions Register under the Directorate General of the Film and Audiovisual Industry of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It is important to mention that this legislation also includes maintaining special designated areas for the development of the film and audiovisual industry.
All companies in the film and audiovisual industry registered on the National Incentives Register will enjoy tax benefits, such as exemption from import duties on goods used exclusively for the film and / or audiovisual industry, exemptions from the immovable property tax, tariffs, contributions, duties, as well as exonerations on the income tax regarding operations abroad; an economic return of 15% on the total purchases of goods and services from domestic suppliers is also among other benefits.
Regarding immigration matters for this industry, the 1-year Temporary Residence Permit, extendable up to six times, is still available, as well as the Permanent Residence Permit for those who make an investment of at least U.S. $ 150,000.00. In addition to these two types of residence permits, a new 3-month Temporary Residence Permit has been made available, renewable for up to one year. This permit has been created for those small productions that will not take more than a year to be completed.
Panama offers unique and attractive landscapes to investors fond of the seventh art. The diversity of locations, our telecommunications infrastructure and the special incentive scheme put in place are unique features that can turn Panama into an internationally acclaimed center for the film and television production industry.