Panama is located at a strategic point in Central America situated on the Isthmus connecting South and North America. It is bordered by Costa Rica and Columbia with the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. A former Spanish Colony, Spanish is the official language of the country but English is widely spoken in urban areas and is used in international business and commerce.
The economy of Panama is the fourth largest in Central America with the fastest growing economy and largest per capita consumer. Panama has a democratic government since 1990, which has produced a strong and stable government with little risk of reverting back to military rule due to the intervention and continuing support of the USA.
Panama offers some of the worlds most flexible and favourable incorporation laws in the world. There are approximately half a million corporations and foundations in Panama making it the second most popular offshore jurisdiction in which to incorporate a company, coming second to Hong Kong. Panama also has the second largest international distribution and free trade centre in the world, again second to Hong Kong and there are over 150 international banks located in Panama, behind only Switzerland.
With an economy so dependent on services and particularly centered on the financial sector the need for strong governance is essential. In the 2004 World Bank Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) it was stated that Panama had made impressive progress since the late 1990’s with new security, banking laws and high quality reporting that has come in line with international best practices. However despite new legislation aimed at increasing compliancy and legitimacy Panama still retains a high degree of privacy which is vigorously imposed and protected by constitutional law. Revealing confidential information to a third party is a crime punishable by imprisonment.
Panama IBC’s benefits are renowned for offering excellent tax benefits, asset protection and high confidentiality.
Some of the benefits are listed below:
- Panama has a territorial tax system which means that income is only taxed if it derives from Panama therefore no tax is payable when income is obtained from a source outside Panama.
- The incorporation process is quick and the ongoing maintenance costs are minimal.
- Minimal reporting requirements, no audit is necessary.
- Corporate assets or capital of a Panama company can be kept outside Panama.
- There are no residency requirements or restrictions with regards to Owners, Directors or Shareholders.
- Shareholders and Directors meetings may be held and the Directors may attend personally or by proxy.
- No restrictions on shares. Shares may be held in registered or bearer form.
- No paid up capital requirement.
- No inheritance tax.
- No currency exchange controls.
- Legal protection provided for confidentiality of business and banking transactions.
- Excellent infrastructure and communications.
New licensing regulations for Trusts & Service Providers in Hong Kong
As per new regulations, all Hong Kong businesses providing Trustee Services, including Corporate Service Providers will not be able to operate without a valid trading license after March the 1st 2018. The new scheme is designed to better regulate individuals carrying out services within the financial sphere in Hong Kong and will be overseen and administered by the Hong Kong Companies Registry.
The terms of Hong Kong's new register of significant controllers and what it means for companies
As per new legislation, from March 1st 2018, every company incorporated in Hong Kong will be required to keep and maintain a register of all persons who have significant control of the company. The record must be updated as required and kept at the registered company address, even if there are no persons of significant control.
The pros & cons of European Passport-by-Investment schemes
In a bid to rebuild the dwindling economy in Cyprus shortly after the financial crisis four years ago, the government launched a passport-by-investment program to temp wealthy foreigners with citizenship in exchange for an investment of no less than €2 million into the Cyprus economy.
Using the Cyprus Non-Dom scheme for beneficial tax planning
In an attempt to improve and simplify the Cyprus tax system as well as to remain a highly compliant and attractive jurisdiction, the introduction of the non-domicile (shortened to Non-Dom) scheme aims to give Cyprus a competitive edge over other jurisdictions.
How are Cyprus banks handling the island's high rate of NPLs? Can more be done to combat them?
It is no secret that the Cyprus banking sector is struggling with the overwhelming level of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs), no matter the efforts exerted by the main banks in Cyprus by following conventional banking models to balance their profit/loss reports, NPLs remain to be the proverbial hole in the bucket.
Income tax exemptions for expats living in Cyprus: what are your options?
Situated in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Republic of Cyprus boasts a strategic geographical location at the hub of three continents; Europe, Asia and Africa and a pleasant sunny climate year round.
The UK Persons of Significant Control Register & its impact on companies
The requirement to maintain a register of people with significant influence or control, more commonly known as the PSC register was introduced to mandate all unlisted companies in the UK, including LLPs and dormant companies to maintain a register identifying those with significant control over a company.
Cyprus implements the Hague Convention, legally recognising Trusts as a type of Equitable Law
This year, the Republic of Cyprus ratified The Hague Conventions’ definition of the legislation applicable to trusts and furthering the regulations surrounding their recognition. Cyprus common law now recognises trusts as a unique legal institution under equity.