Automobile Requirements

[Cambiar a espaņol]

Automobile requirements/ restrictions:

Panamanian customs laws state that all automobiles coming to Panama are subject to import taxes, except for those belonging to accredited diplomats, members of international organizations, or U.S. contractors. Nevertheless, diplomats, members of international organizations, or U.S. contractors can import free of duties one automobile. Any other auto will have to pay import duties.

The required documents are the following:
1. Original OBL (not legalized). The OBL must specify the ocean freight charge for the auto.
2. Original certificate of ownership.
3. Original commercial invoice or purchase invoice.

Taxes are assessed depending on the C.I.F. value (Cost, Insurance & Freight). The actual value of the automobile is calculated according to the N.A.D.A. (National Automobile Dealers Association) booklet using the MSRP (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price).

It doesn't matter what the invoice presented to customs says, they will proceed according to the N.A.D.A. booklet, also known as the "Blue Book".

FIRST STEP   is to determine the MSRP value of your vehicle. CLICK HERE to get your MSRP value at Once here, go to the "USED CARS" section and follow instructions. This page is a link, PANAMA PACKING & STORAGE cannot accept any responsibility for the data, interpretation, contents or any difference in relation to the assessed duties.

SECOND STEP: Determining the actual (depreciated) price of your automobile.
Once the MSRP has been established customs depreciates all vehicles according to the following chart:

  • There is no discount (depreciation) for new automobiles (Year 0).
  • Year -1 Models have a 15% discount (Actual Value = 85% of the MSRP).
  • Year -2 Models have a 30% discount (Actual Value = 70% of the MSRP).
  • Year -3 Models have a 45% discount (Actual Value = 55% of the MSRP).
  • Year -4 Models have a 60% discount (Actual Value = 40% of the MSRP).
    This is the greatest amount of depreciation that customs will accept an apply.

  • THIRD STEP. Import Duty.
    Import duties are based on the C.I.F. (Cost, Insurance & Freight) value. At this point, to the actual (depreciated) price, add the freight & insurance listed in the Bill Of Lading. Customs authorities require the specific freight of the automobile and in the event there is no specific freight (cases where autos come by road or consolidated with other merchandise), customs will calculate the freight as 14% of the actual (depreciated) price, and insurance as 1% on same value.

    Import Duty (Based on CIF value):

  • If the CIF value is US$8,000.00 (or less) = 15%
  • If the CIF value ranges from US$8,000.01 up to US$20,000.00, = 18%
  • If the CIF value is of US$20,000.01 up to $25,000, = 23%
  • If the CIF value is of US$25,000.01 and over, 25%
  • Other charges: US$75.00 (flat) for customs documentation.
  • The customs brokers fee is of approximately $150.00
  • FOURTH STEP. 7% I.T.B.M. tax.
    This local tax is applied to the actual (depreciated) price, plus the import duty. Both values must be added to calculate the 7% I.T.B.M..

    If the CIF Value is over $12,000.00 a 5% Selective Tax will be charged. It is calculated exactly as the FOURTH STEP.

    Determining the taxes for importing vehicles to the Republic Of Panama is not simple for persons not familiar to this kind of transactions. We have elaborated an example to help clear any doubts that may have arise at this point.

    View an example ?