PANAMA LEAVES THE GAFI GRAY LISTS, RECOGNIZING PANAMA AS A SECURE BUSINESS CENTER
The Financial Action Task Force (GAFI) has recognized Panama's significant progress in improving its anti-money laundering and terrorist financing (ALA/CFT) regime.
Panama has strengthened the effectiveness of its measures to comply with the commitments established in its action plan, addressing strategic actions previously identified by the GAFI in June 2019
Among the areas of improvement highlighted by this international organization are: Understanding of national and sectoral risks, Identification of unlicensed money senders and effective supervision, Verification of information on final beneficiaries and Use of products from the Financial Intelligence Unit for investigations.
source: Panorama Económico Panamá
VISAS FOR RETIRED OR PENSIONED PERSONS in Panama
Panama’s immigraiton laws have created two types of visas, easily available to pensioned or retired foreigners, to enjoy life in this country, after retirement.
Both visas grant the status of Resident and some tax exemption benefits. One is called Pensioned Tourist’s Visa, and the other is called Retired Pensioner’s Visa.
Grants the right to reside in Panama, indefinitely, as long as evidence is filed that applicant receives a pension, sufficient to pay for his expenses in the country, for a monthly minimum amount of USD 500.00 or its equivalent in any foreign currency, plus USD 100.00 for each dependant.
These amounts may be increased after revision, according to cost of living indexes, by resolution of the Executive Body. This increase would not affect the rights of those persons who already have been granted the visa.
Grants residence in Panama for a 5-year period, which may be prorogued, as long as applicant can prove that he has enough to pay for his expenses in the country, for a minimum monthly amount of USD 750.00 plus USD 100.00 for each dependant, exclusively as product of a fixed term deposit in the National Bank of Panama (Banco Nacional de Panama), in the concept of interests.
The fixed term deposit shall be kept free from encumbrances or warranties and should be maintained for the 5-year period and so on, as long as the person may want to keep the visa. (At the moment, a fixed term deposit for the amount of USD 203,000.00 is enough, but this amount varies all the time, depending on the interest rates).
The Retired Pensioner’s Visa also offers the benefit of a special passport of the Republic of Panama but without granting the Panamanian nationality.
Both visas give the following benefits:
Apart from the two visas mentioned above, to travel outside Panama and return under equal conditions, all foreigners having resident status in Panama must obtain a Return Visa.
Therefore, after the main visa is granted, a Multiple Return Visa should be obtained when traveling abroad. This only takes two days and no major requirements.
The Simple one will serve for one return entrance only, while the multiple one lasts two years.
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PANAMA OFFSHORE CORPORATIONS
Offshore corporations, either Panamanian or Caribbean, and Private Interest Foundations are commonly used for reducing tax burden and for the protection of assets. It also helps in maintaining confidentiality. They may be used as holding companies, as owners of any kind of property, such as bank or investments accounts, real estate property, etc, as well as for business activities outside your actual place of business.
Two or more persons of legal age, without regard to nationality or domicile, may create a Corporation and start operations immediately, without any capital subscription. Shares may be issued to a person or to bearer. Par value nominative shares may be issued even when no payment has been received for them.
Composed of a minimum of three natural persons, the Board of Directors will direct and administer the corporation’s businesses. Such powers may be limited in the Articles of Incorporation or any amendment thereof and left exclusively to shareholders’ resolutions as they may agree in general meetings. Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation are within the exclusive powers of Shareholders or subscribers to the Articles of Incorporation, if shares are not issued
Board of Directors’ and Shareholders’ Meetings may take place even when all members are not present, if they have been in contact by phone, fax, or any electronic communication method. A Minute of the meeting must then be issued, indicating the decisions taken and the communication method used by participants.
According to Law No. 61 of December 26, 2002, Corporations must pay an annual tax for the sum of $250.00 plus a $50.00 overcharge when paid on retard and a fine of $250.00 will be applied when annual tax for more than one period is overdue. On time annual tax payments must take place for the latest on June 30 for corporations registered from the months of January to June and on December 31 for those registered from July to December. Registration rights will depend on the corporation's capital.
Offshore corporations do not pay income taxes in Panama, as they do not have economic activity in Panama.
Foreign corporations wanting to do business in this country may open agencies or offices in Panama, after they have been duly registered in the Public Registry and obtained the required licenses.
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PRIVATE INTEREST FOUNDATIONS IN PANAMA
Mainly ruled by the Charter and its Regulations, Private Interest Foundations are usually used to protect family assets and income, as well as for succession purposes. Its regulations may be private, not needing public registration.
According to Law No. 25 of 1995, one or more natural or juridical persons can create a Private Interest Foundation, by constituting a separate estate exclusively destined to serve the objectives expressly established in a Foundation’s Charter. Registration rights and annual taxes are equal to those of Corporations.
Counsel’s obligation and duties may be supervised and limited by a committee, a protector, or any supervising entity. Members of the Counsel will not be responsible for losses or damages caused as long as they act with the authorization of the supervising entity.
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PANAMA OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNTS
The Republic of Panama is known as an Offshore Service Center, where its International Banking Center excels, allowing the opening of Foreign or Local Bank Accounts, in a prompt and safe manner, an indispensable tool for making financial operations in an offshore structure for tax planning and asset protection, in addition to corporations, offshore companies, private interest foundations and trusts.
The Panamanian LAW FIRM CORBETTI LAWYERS can help you in the process of opening offshore bank accounts in well known and prestigious banks. This law firm will guide you throughout the whole process, by offering the services of preparing the required documentation, such as the bank account opening applications and banking contracts, by drafting or obtaining the required legal documents, or by legalizing the minutes of the corporations or offshore companies under our administration.
The complete transaction can be completed with the client remaining outside Panama. Most Banks will require information and references on the commercial and banking history of the interested party, and in some occasions, a personal interview or meeting with the future bank account executive in the country, may be required. Once the application is accepted, the client can make any deposits or withdrawals, execute money transfers or give investments orders, have check books, obtain credit cards, etc. At this point, our work would be fulfilled, not having any relation with the account’s movements or with transactions made, to maintain discretion and confidentiality.
SHIPS AND YACHTS REGISTRATION IN PANAMA
Panama is known for rendering a many services, especially in the maritime sector, which is benefited by the open registry or flag of convenience regime, the reason why Panama has the major fleet in the world.
Panama’s Public Registry and the Merchant Marine Directorate have combined their efforts to fortify the sector, while the CORBETTI LAWYERS has the experience and qualifications to help you with the registration of ships and yachts or the registration of ship mortgages for vessels of any tonnage.
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