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Republic of Panama

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Who are you and where are you located?

A: We are located in Panama City, Republic Panama. We are a full service law firm that specializes in establishing Panama offshore corporations and foundations in the Republic of Panama. Our attorneys are registered agents in the Panama Public Registry.

Q: How can I trust your service, can you provide references?

A: We are a reputable provider in the offshore industry. If you would like, we can provide you with a list of professional correspondent references. Unfortunately, due to the confidential nature of our business, we cannot provide our clients as references.

Q: Do I need to come to Panama to finalize anything?

A: You do not need to come to Panama to setup a Panama corporation or Panama foundation, as everything can be processed through email and courier.
However, Panamanian banks do require personal interviews to setup your personal or corporate bank accounts.

Q: What if I want a shelf entity?

A: No problem that you want a shelf entity instead of a new entity. If you need immediate delivery, then request a shelf entity.

Q: Do you recommend a new corporation (or foundation), or should I use a shelf entity?

A: That depends on your needs. If you want to use a specific name then you need to set up a new entity. If you need instant delivery and you can accept any company name, then we recommend a shelf entity.

Q: What is the difference between corporation and foundation?

A: For banking purposes, there is very little difference. All entities come with everything you need to open bank or brokerage account.
Generally, corporations are used for profit ventures involving business activity such as securities trading, banking, international trade, ownership of assets etc..
Foundations are generally used for non-profit activities such as charities, receiving or giving donations, grants, etc., but can also be used for holding purposes such as holding ownership of a Panama corporation or any other type of asset. Most of our clients use Private interest foundations to hold ownership of their corporations for additional confidentiality and asset protection.

Q: Can I use my entity (Corporation or Foundation) to hold ownership of real estate property in my home country?

A: That depends on the country you are located in and the real estate ownership rules in that country. Some countries have extensive reporting requirements, additional property taxes, and all kinds of red tape to go through when titling real estate in the name of a foreign entity.
If you are interested in Offshore asset protection for domestic real estate, then we generally recommend that you title the real estate in the name of a domestic entity (such as a domestic corporation, LLC, or trust) and then have the domestic entity owned by Panama corporation or foundation.

Q: Is there any requirement to file Panama tax returns, keep books for the corporation, have an accountant, etc.?

A: Yes. Offshore companies must file an annual tax declaration stating that they are “offshore companies”, so they don’t pay tax in Panama. Panama offshore companies earning money outside of Panama don’t pay income taxes in Panama. It is not a requirement to keep books for the corporation or have an accountant. However you may keep your own internal (private) books for accounting purposes.

Q: Are there annual renewal fees for the corporation or foundation?

A: Yes. The annual corporate franchise tax is US$300 per entity (corporation or foundation), which is paid to the government of Panama. The annual fee for registered office & resident agent is also US$300. If you use our nominee directors service, there will be an additional annual fee of US$150. The first year’s fees and government taxes are included in the purchase price. On each anniversary date of the corporation, our renewals department will invoice you for the annual fees.

Q: Are there penalties or late fees for not paying the annual fees for the corporation or foundation?

A: Yes. The government charges a late fee of US$50 if you do not pay the annual corporate franchise tax on time. After the first late fee, the government charges a second late fee of US$300 for failure to pay two consecutive fiscal periods. Our law firm charges a late fee of $50 per fiscal period, for non-payment of resident agent/registered office/nominee director fees. It is very important to maintain your entity(s) in good standing.

Q: What will I receive ?

A: Each Panamanian corporation package comes complete with articles of incorporation (with official English translation), resident agent, registered office, share certificates (issued either to the Bearer, or in Nominative form), and a resignation letter from the subscribers. Foundations include the registered foundation charter (with official English translation), resident agent, registered office, and notarized Private Protectorate Document.

Optionally, you can ask us to provide nominee directors or council (for additional fee). In this case we will also include pre-signed, undated letters of resignation from each director (or council member), plus a Notarized and Appostiled General Power of Attorney. The Power of Attorney comes with a blank space so you can complete it with any name you want. The persons name who appears in the Power of Attorney would have authority to actually operate the corporation (or foundation), e.g. sign contracts, open and operate bank and brokerage accounts etc.

Q: What are nominee directors and nominee signatories?

A: Nominee directors (or nominee council members) are directors that our law firm appoints for you. Each corporation or foundation must have 3 directors appointed when the entity is registered in the public registry of Panama. The directors names and passport numbers are on the public deed of the corporation (or foundation) and this information is publicly available. When we appoint nominee directors on our clients entities, we provide our clients with pre-signed, undated letters of resignation from each director so they can replace the directors at any time. The nominee directors we appoint are only there to fill in the blanks at the public registry and they have no authority over the entity for any kind of decision making.

Nominee signatories are signatories that our law firm appoints for you on your corporate accounts. In many cases, our clients prefer to not be the signatory on the corporate accounts due to either privacy reasons or foreign account signing reporting rules in their home countries. When we appoint nominee signatories on our clients corporate accounts, we charge an annual fee of US$1000 (or 1%, whichever is more) for this service. When our clients want a transaction done on their corporate account, they would simply contact a designated service representative within our firm, and make the request, then we forward the request to the bank or broker to execute the transaction.

Q: Can I transfer securities to the corporate brokerage account of my corporation?

A: Yes, once the corporate brokerage account is set up, we will provide you with DTC instructions to transfer the securities to the corporate brokerage account. All you need to do is instruct your broker to DTC transfer the securities to the instructions we provide. If you have stock that is in physical certificate form, you must either deposit the stock in a brokerage account and DTC it to the corporate brokerage account, or have the stock certificates re-issued in the corporations name, then send the certificates to the brokerage firm along with the stock powers and the brokerage firm will deposit them into the corporate brokerage account.

Q: Can I transfer mutual funds, IRA’s, 401K’s, or pension funds to the corporate brokerage accounts that you set up for my corporation (or foundation)?

A: In most cases, mutual funds can be transferred without a problem through a DTC transfer if the are publicly traded mutual funds. Otherwise, if they are mutual funds that are not publicly traded (they do not have a symbol on the market like a stock), then it is slightly more difficult as you have to instruct the mutual fund company to transfer the ownership to the corporation. We do not assist our clients in transferring mutual funds, we only provide DTC instructions to transfer publicly traded securities. IRA’s, 401k’s, or pension funds cannot be transferred to the offshore corporation or foundation.

Q: Do you provide additional services such as legal consulting, corporate mail forwarding, etc.?

A: Yes, we provide legal consulting and also offer corporate mail forwarding services, corporate contracts and agreements, Panama immigration services, real estate law, and much more.


 


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