Panama's strategic geographic location, sovereign control of the Panama Canal (since 2000), along
with a stable political system, friendly corporate and tax legislation and a well-developed
legal services sector, have made Panama a renowned centre of international business with
thousands of international companies and ships registered.
The national currency is the Panamanian balboa and the US dollar (as legal tender, it is freely available in Panama). There are no currency controls or restrictions on the flow of funds. Transactions can be made in any currency.
Panama is included in the List of Offshore Zones of the Ministry of Finance of Russia No. 108n, but is not on the List of Instructions of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation No. 1317-U.
choosing a country
choosing a bank
payment (by any method)
bank account opening
Panama's tax system is characterised by the territorial principle of taxation, i.e., the income of a Panamanian corporation not operating in Panama is not taxed. Dividends paid by a Panamanian corporation not doing business in Panama are also not subject to withholding tax if the profits from which the dividends are distributed were derived from a foreign source. These rules allow Panama to be equated with classic offshore jurisdictions.
Only income derived from operations within Panama is subject to income tax in Panama. The corporate tax rate in this case is 25%.
Only the annual fixed fee is compulsory for all companies. Failure to pay the annual fee results in the imposition of penalties.
The company's corporate and financial records must be kept in Panama if the company carries out taxable operations in the territory of Panama. Such information must be up-to-date and available for inspection by the local tax authorities. If the company carries out exclusively offshore operations, such documentation can be stored anywhere, including abroad.
Companies not carrying out business in Panama are not required to file annual accounts, tax returns and audits.
Experts estimate that Panama has the most favourable environment for the development of foundations and corporations. Consider each of these forms in the context of business attractiveness. Such foundations are non-profit organisations (not to be confused with investment funds).
Panama's funds are characterised by:
In order to establish a foundation, the actual placement (contribution) of funds or assets into the foundation by the founder is required.
The foundation acquires the rights of a legal entity from the moment the charter of the foundation is registered in the Public Register. The foundation's charter contains the following information:
The beneficiaries of the foundation, as well as the method of profit distribution, are not defined in the articles of association, but in the foundation's Regulations, an internal document of the foundation kept by the registration agent in strict confidentiality.
It is necessary to obtain the following set of documents:
The owner's personal presence is not a requirement for registration. In order to do business, you must maintain an office in the country and the agent must be a resident of Panama.
Set of documents:
Nominee director and shareholder
The names of the company directors are contained in the public register of Panama.
Information about shareholders and beneficial owners is not disclosed and is only kept in the files of the Panamanian registration agent.
With regards to bearer shares, Act No. 47 of 6 August 2013 introduces a custodial regime (storage mode). In accordance with this law, bearer shares issued after the entry into force of the law (that is, after August 2015) must be transferred to the depositary together with an affidavit from the owner of the shares containing identification data. The same requirement applies to shares issued before the law came into force (there is a three-year transition period until August 2018). Shareholders retain all rights associated with such ownership. The following local (Panamanian) entities may act as depositories: banks with a general licence; regulated (supervised) trustees, brokerage firms; centralised securities depositories, lawyers meeting statutory requirements, and similar foreign entities registered in a special register of Panama.
Panama has Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) in place with Canada, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the US.
Double tax treaties (DTAs) exist with the following countries: Barbados, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Spain (all of which were concluded in the period 2010-2013).
As of early 2014, Panama is not a party to the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (as amended in 2010).