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  Professional offshore incorporations and offshore banking services since 1996

Panama

Details about Panama

flgpa.jpg (2631 bytes)


[ BACKGROUND ] [ COMPANY FORMATION ]
[ SHARE CAPITAL, TAXATION, LICENCE FEES & COMPLIANCE ]
[ STRUCTURE OF MANAGEMENT ]


GENERAL INFORMATION
The Republic of Panama, with an area of approximately 76,900 sq km, is located between Costa Rica and Colombia, forms the narrowest and lowest portion of the isthmus that links North and South America.

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

POLITICAL STRUCTURE
The Isthmus of Panama was discovered in 1501 by Rodrigo de Bastidas and Vasco Nuņez de Balboa, who had a leading part in the establishment of Santa Maria La Antigua del Darien in 1510, the first permanent settlement on the mainland of the Americas. In 1513, Balboa led an expedition, in Panama, which discovered the Pacific Ocean.

Pedro Arias Davila founded Panama City on 15th August 1519, almost a hundred years before Jamestown; the first permanent English settlement in North America was founded. Panama was a Spanish

colony until 1821 when it became part of the Gran Colombia of Simon Bolivar. In 1903, Panama broke its alliance with Colombia and became an independent republic.

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.

 

INFRASTRUCTURE AND ECONOMY
The Colon Free Zone is located on the Caribbean side of the Isthmus of Panama near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal. This Free Trade Zone is the second largest in the world after Hong Kong.

Operations and transactions taking place in the Free Trade Zone are subject to a special tax treatment whereby imports from other parts of the world and re-exports to other countries are exempted from any import or export taxes imposed by Panama. Income earned from re-exports is taxed at specially reduced rates.

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

CURRENCY
United States Dollar.

EXCHANGE CONTROL
None.

TYPE OF LAW
Based on Spanish Civil Law with many Common Law influences, particularly regarding Company Law, which is based on the Delaware Model.

PRINCIPAL CORPORATE LEGISLATION
Corporation Law No. 32 of the 1927 Commercial Code, Decree Law 5 of 1997 and Executive Decree 296 of 1997.


COMPANY FORMATION

TYPE OF COMPANY FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT

Generally, corporations are incorporated under the Corporation Statute Law 32 of the 1927 Commercial Code. Limited Liability Companies and Limited Partnerships are used also.

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.

RESTRICTIONS ON TRADING
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.

LANGUAGE OF LEGISLATION AND CORPORATE DOCUMENTS
Spanish and certified English translations.

REGISTERED OFFICE REQUIRED
Yes, must be maintained in Panama at the address of the Registered Agent.

NAME APPROVAL REQUIRED
Yes.

shelf COMPANIES AVAILABLE
Yes.

TIME TO INCORPORATE
One day, subject to name approval.

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.

LANGUAGE OF NAME
Names may be expressed in any language using the Latin alphabet. A Spanish or English translation may be requested by the Registrar.

NAMES REQUIRING CONSENT OR A LICENCE

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

SUFFIXES TO DENOTE LIMITED LIABILITY
All Panamanian corporations must end with the suffix Corporation, Incorporated, Sociedad Anonima or the abbreviations Corp, Inc or SA. They may not utilise the suffix Limited or Ltd.

DISCLOSURE OF BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP TO AUTHORITIES
No requirement.


SHARE CAPITAL, TAXATION, LICENCE FEES AND COMPLIANCE MATTERS

AUTHORISED AND ISSUED SHARE CAPITAL

The standard authorised share capital is US$ 10,000 divided in to 100 common voting shares of US$ 100 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.

CLASSES OF SHARES PERMITTED
Non-voting shares, preferred shares, bearer shares and registered shares.

BEARER SHARES PERMITTED
Permitted, have to be paid for in full.

TAXATION
No corporation tax is levied on non-Panamanian sourced income.

DOUBLE TAXATION AGREEMENTS
None.

LICENCE FEES
Annual Franchise Tax of US$ 150.

FINANCIAL STATEMENT REQUIREMENTS
No requirement if income is of non-Panamanian sources.


STRUCTURE OF MANAGEMENT

DIRECTORS

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.

COMPANY SECRETARY
A company secretary must be appointed, who may be a natural or corporate person. The company secretary may be of any nationality and need not be a resident of Panama.

SHAREHOLDERS
The minimum number of shareholders is one.


ORDER


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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the details contained herein are correct and up-to-date, it does not constitute legal or other professional advice. We do not accept any responsibility, legal or otherwise, for any errors or omissions.


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