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.
Gibraltar companies now have to disclose full Beneficial Ownership details to Central Register
Gibraltar is working to implement all EU legislation relating to the 4th Anti Money Laundering Directive into national law, in addition to the current EU legislation on financial supervision and direct taxation, and to this affect, the Government of Gibraltar have established a Central Register of Beneficial Ownership that will be effective from June 26th 2017.
European Commission publishes tax avoidance disclosure directive
The EC (European Commission) has published its draft legislation compelling financial service providers or intermediaries to disclose any international tax planning schemes they have encouraged, enabled or assisted in any way.
OECD publishes compliance review for all non-compliant jurisdictions
The OECDs global tax transparency initiative was launched last year in April 2016, with the purpose of encouraging every jurisdiction across the world to commit to implementation of a CRS (Common Reporting Standard) for automatic exchange of information by 2018, and to sign the Multilateral Convention on the exchanging of tax data. A forum on behalf of the OECD has released the results of its review for jurisdictions it considers to be non-compliant.
EU Parliament Committee release findings & recommendations for current offshore taxation measures
A formal enquiry into the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has been launched by the European Parliament's Committee, which found gaps in beneficial ownership transparency for trusts and fiduciaries and didn’t meet the EU standard.
2017 G20 summit: Enforcement of taxation highest priority
The 2017 G20 leaders’ summit took place in Hamburg last week where the European Commission Council and leaders discussed the priorities and primary projects for the upcoming summit. EC President Jean-Claude Juncker has stated that advancing the global combat against tax evasion is top of the list.
The EC takes action against advocates promoting tax avoidance schemes
The European Commission has recommended the implementation of a new regulation regarding companies or intermediaries who promote or design cross-border tax planning schemes will going forward be required to provide full disclosure to the tax authorities of their relevant jurisdiction within five days of offering them to clients.
What are the new Beneficial Ownership reporting requirements for BVI companies?
Going forward, a new regulation will require certain British Virgin Islands companies to gather and retain details of Beneficial Owners with 25% or more of the company’s shareholding rights, with an ongoing requirement to keep the details up to date.
Russian citizens can gain Cyprus tax residency by staying only 60 days on island, whats the catch?
Cyprus is once again working to improve its economic desirability and will be able to increase its alternative business base for Russians with good creditworthiness.