Offshore Jurisdictions

Where is Panama Located?

The Republic of Panama, with an area of approximately 76,900 sq km and is located just south of Costa Rica, forming the narrowest and lowest portion of the isthmus that links North and South America.

top

What is the population of Panama?

The population of Panama is approximately 2.4 million, about 52% of which live in urban areas.

top

What is the main spoken language of Panama?

Spanish is the official spoken language however English is also spoken widely in urban areas and is used daily in commerce and international trade.

top

What Currency does Panama use?

Panama uses the U.S. dollar as its legal tender (currency) instilling tremendous fiscal and monetary discipline while keeping inflation very low, under two percent for the last 40 years. A dollar economy insulates Panama from global economic shocks. During the Asian monetary crisis of 1998, Panama became one of the healthiest economies in Latin America.

top

Are there any exchange control restrictions in Panama?

Panama has no currency exchange controls or currency restrictions therefore funds can flow in and out of the country freely. Panama has no restrictions on monetary remittances abroad, including dividends, interests, branch profits and royalties.

top

What type of law does Panama follow?

Panama adheres to common law based on English system.

top

Does Panama have a stable political structure?

Panama is considered by government analysts to be the most stable government in all of Central or South America with excellent government infrastructure adhering to a Roman system or law.

The Government of Panama is Pro-business in attitude and is headed by the executive branch, which is composed of a president and two vice presidents, democratically elected for a five-year term by direct vote.The executive branch of the Government is at present composed of a President and two vice-presidents, elected for a five-year term by direct election.

top

Does Panama offer a stable infrastructure and economy?

Panama is the largest international banking center in the world next to Switzerland with approximately 150 international banks located in Panama alone. Total assets in Panamanian banks have reached over $100 billion USDS ranking Panama the most modern and successful international banking center in Latin America. Panama offers the most favorable and most flexible incorporation laws available in the world. No wonder that Panama is the registered domicile for over 400,000 corporations & foundations, making it the second most popular jurisdiction to incorporate in the world, next to Hong Kong.

The economy is one of the most stable, prosperous, and most advanced in all of Central and South America being the second largest international distribution and free trade zone in the world next to Hong Kong. Panama’s Colon Free Zone has over 1500 international import/export businesses operating within it, receives more than 250,000 visitors yearly, and generates exports and re-exports valued at more than US$11 billion annually.

Panama is strategically located. The Panama Canal acts as a gateway to Pacific Ocean and Asia. This greatly contributes to overall economic success of Panama. The Panama canal is one of the busiest commercial waterways in the world with a long history of offshore shipping operations. The Investments Stability Law (Law No. 54 of July 22, 1998) guarantees all foreign and national investors equal rights, continuing Panama’s long-standing policy of providing a foreign-investment environment that requires no special authorizations, permits or prior registration.

top

Are there any major companies in Panama?

Major companies in Panama include Federal Express, DHL, Sears, Price Costco, Bell South, Kansas City Southern Railways, Continental and American Airlines, ICA (construction) and Cable & Wireless to name a few.

top

What is the principal corporate legalization for International business incorporations?

Corporation Law No. 32 of the 1927 Commercial Code, Decree Law 5 of 1997 and Executive Decree 296 of 1997. Limited Liability Companies and Limited Partnerships are also used.

top

What is the procedure to incorporate?

By presentation of the proposed corporation’s signed Articles of Incorporation before a Notary Public who creates a Public Deed for registration at the Public Registry.

top

Are there any restrictions on trading?

Panama IBC’s cannot undertake the business of banking, trusteeship and trust administration, insurance, assurance, reinsurance, fund management, investment funds, collective investment schemes or any other activity that would suggest an association with the banking, finance, fiduciary or insurance businesses.

top

What is the language of legislation in regard to corporate documents?

Corporate documents are written in Spanish and certified with English translations.

top

What are the registered office requirements?

All Panama corporations must be registered by Registering Agents holding offices in Panama.

top

Will I need name approval for my IBC?

Yes, we require you to submit three possible names in order of preference.

top

Do you have shelf companies available?

Yes, shelf companies are available if time is of the essence.

top

How long does it take to incorporate?

One day, subject to name approval.

top

Are there any name restrictions?

A name that is similar to or identical to an existing company. Names of well known companies incorporated elsewhere or a name that implies government patronage.

top

What languages can my company name be expressed in?

Names may be expressed in any language using the Latin alphabet. The Registrar may request a Spanish or English translation.

top

What names require consent or a license?

Bank, building society, savings, insurance, assurance, reinsurance, fund management, investment fund, trust or their foreign language equivalents.

top

What Suffixes are used to Denote Limited Liability?

All Panamanian corporations must end with the suffix Corporation, Incorporated, Sociedad Anónima or the abbreviations Corp, Inc or SA. They may not utilize the suffix Limited or Ltd.

top

Can the beneficial ownership of a Panama corporation be disclosed to outside authorities?

Panama constitution provides the highest levels of banking and corporate secrecy/privacy laws in the world. With Britain’s proposed regulation for removal of bank and corporate book secrecy in the UK offshore territories, it is clear that Panama will remain one of the only secure offshore financial centers in terms of privacy and confidentiality that is not only respected, but vigorously protected by constitutional law.

Panama Corporations offer “Bearer Shares” allowing shareholders to maintain 100% privacy and confidentiality.

top

What is the standard authorized and Issued Share Capital?

The standard authorized share capital is $10,000 US divided in to 100 common voting shares of $100 US each or 500 common voting shares of no par value; the capital may be expressed in any convertible currency. The minimum issued capital is either one share of no par value or one share of par value. Panama corporations do not require Paid-In Capital, nor is there a time limit in which authorized capital must be fully paid.

top

What Classes of Shares are permitted?

Panama corporations share certificates can be issued in Non-voting shares, preferred shares, registered shares Nominative or Bearer form (anonymous form of ownership), with or without par value.

top

What is the annual Licensing fee?

Annual Franchise Tax of $450 US is payable.

top

Do financial statements have to be submitted to the Panama government?

No requirement is enforced as long as income is of non-Panamanian sources.

top

How many Directors are required for a Panama IBC?

Both corporations and natural persons may act as directors and the minimum number of directors is three. They may be of any nationality and need not be residents of Panama. Panamanian companies are also required to appoint a minimum of three officers (president, secretary and treasurer) who may also be the directors. Meetings of directors, officers, and shareholders may be held in any country and accounting books may be kept in outside Panama.

top

Must a Company Secretary be appointed?

A company secretary must be appointed; this may be a natural or corporate person. The company secretary may be of any nationality and need not be a resident of Panama.

top

How many Shareholders are required?

The minimum number of shareholders is one. Shares can be issued as bearer or standard registered.

top