The IRS Deductions and Benefits of Holding Your Convention or Business Meeting in Panama

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Safe Environment and Modern Infrastructure

In addition to becoming a regional business hub in Latin America, Panama is quickly becoming a popular destination for holding conventions and international events. A modern infrastructure, direct flights to more than 50 cities in the region and 13 in the U.S, world-class attractions nearby, excellent restaurants, a globalized populace, and a vibrant metropolis with more than 100 banks and exciting nightlife, all make Panama the perfect place to host first-class events.

Panama's government recently announced plans to build a state-of-the-art 200 million dollar convention center in Panama City to be finished by 2014, but until then there is an impressive variety of options to choose from. The ATLAPA Convention Center has a total capacity of 10,500 people, 24 meeting rooms, a beautiful 2,806-seat auditorium, and offers a variety of facilities and services to ensure the success of any kind of event.

Atlapa Convention Center Panama

Get the ATLAPA Convention Center for Free!

As an added incentive to holding conventions in Panama, the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) has partnered with Copa Airlines to offer a special promotion that provides the ATLAPA convention center—one of the largest convention centers in the region—at no cost to any event that promises to fill 500 hotel rooms for at least 3 nights and flies with COPA Airlines, a savings of $100,000!

Deduct Your Expenses From Your IRS Taxes

In addition to this, the recent Free Trade Agreement that Panama signed with the United States includes the IRS Revenue Ruling 2011-26, 274 (h) (6) in which Panama is considered to be included in the North American area with respect to expenses incurred in attending a meeting or convention.
This means US companies can now hold business meetings and conventions in Panama with the knowledge that business expenses related to the Panamanian facility are tax deductible in the US.
As always, a business will need to maintain adequate documentation to support any business deduction claimed on its US income tax return. Revenue Ruling 2011-26 does not impose any additional reporting requirements for US business, but simply includes Panama as a jurisdiction that will be considered as part of the North American area for purposes of deducting convention expenses.

Additional Incentives

The ATP also pays the airfare and hotel stay for three conference speakers and host a Panamanian Folklore Dance with cocktails as a welcoming gift. Both the Panama Tourism Authority and Panama Conventions Bureau are committed to making Panama a top-notch convention destination. We recommend you contact them as they offer many valuable resources to ensure the success of your event.

Whether you wish to hold a large or small event you'll find that there is a great selection of venues in Panama to suit any need. Below you will find a list of available convention centers and hotels.

Convention Centers:

ATLAPA, Ciudad del Saber, Figali Convention Center.

Convention Hotels:

Large Events (500-800 Attendees): El Panama Hotel, Sheraton, Riu Hotel, Royal Decameron, Intercontinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa, Trump Ocean Club.

Medium Size events (300-500 Attendees): the Panama Marriot.

Small events (less than 300 Attendees):Country Inn & Suites, Radisson, Bristol Buenaventura, Playa Tortuga Resort, Le Meridien.

For more information contact the Panama Tourism Authority at gerencia@atp.gob.pa.