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Costs to form a Panamanian Corporation

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 Editors Note:  This is the first in a series of legal articles written by a Panamanian attorney. This is not meant to replace legal advice and is provided as information only. Roberto Chocolaté strongly suggests you consult your own lawyer in all legal matters. These articles are meant as a guide only. 

I would like to welcom Yasser (Alex) William Arosemena to the Retirement Detectives team. I hope you find his information useful. RC

 How much does it cost to form a corporation in Panama and how long does it take?

A Panamanian Corporation is relatively inexpensive when you take into consideration the benefits that the client obtains by having one.

Fixed costs (which include the government fees, notary and inscription fees) are around USD$ 475.00. Legal fees charged by the attorney or law firm representing you may vary, depending on the purpose of the corporation, how complex the articles of incorporation are, use of nominee directors, etc.

Every year, a government fee of USD$ 300.00 is applicable, which is due before July 15th (for corporations registered between January and June of the previous year) or January 15th (for corporations registered between July and December of the previous year.

There are also legal fees applicable every year for services such as being Resident Agent (by law, there must be an attorney or law firm acting as resident agent of the corporation) and the use of Nominee Directors. Make sure to ask your attorney what those future costs will be.

Setting up a Panamanian Corporation usually takes approximately 3 working days, but delays in the Public Registry of Panama could take place.

In regards to the benefits I had mentioned, here is a short list of only some of the most relevant:

-      Confidentiality: Since the applicable laws only allow the submission of accounting records, files or any other documentation to foreign authorities with appropriate authorization granted by the Courts of Panama and information-sharing treaties are limited mainly to drug-related offences.

-       Asset Protection: Panamanian Corporations have the capability of holding assets internationally on a favorable tax basis.

-       NO filing requirements: There are no requirements to file tax reports with the Panamanian government. Additionally, it is not mandatory to have bank accounts or maintain assets in Panama.

-       Tax advantages: Income resulting from activities that take place outside the Panamanian Territory is not taxable under Panamanian law. Companies with employees in Panama and with activities and/or transactions that take place overseas do not pay income tax.

However, if you are looking for a structure that allows you to fully protect your assets, I recommend the Panamanian Interest Foundation as the best alternative.

Please contact me directly if you have any questions.

Yasser (Alex) Williams A.

Attorney at Law

Arosemena & Arosemena

Tel: (507) 263- 0345

E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Friday, 19 November 2010 17:23
 

Prescriptions Costs in Panama

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A Retirement Detective member recently sent in a question regarding the cost of prescription drugs in Panama. He is a diabetic, on insulin.

 

I offered to investigate the costs and availability and publish them here so that everyone can get an idea of what prescription drugs really cost in Panama.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 18:52 Register to read more...
 

Why We Chose Panama

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There are many things to consider when choosing a retirement destination.  To help us decide, we put together a list of criteria to summarize what was important to us.  Try our Visitor Polls to tell us what is important to you!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 18:56 Register to read more...
 

Town Center at Playa Blanca late

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Here is yet another e-mail from a person concerned about their project running late (NOTE: ALL projects run late in Panama - you have to be here to understand why - what I don't understand is why these real estate agents and developers keep telling people dates they know they will never achieve) Roberto 


Hi Roberto, I wonder if you have any information on the project [Town center] It was to be ready at  Xmas 2010. We live in Canada the developer has never sent any information on the status of the building. We are wondering if you could shed some light on the status of the town center. Your help would be greatly appreciated. By the way my wife and I met you last year at Woody's.

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 January 2011 18:28 Read more...
 

How long can I stay in Panama?

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 How long can I stay in Panama?

 

By Yasser (Alex) Williams A., Attorney at Law, Arosemena & Arosemena

According to article 21 of Executive Decree No. 320 issued on August 8th, 2008, all tourists can remain in Panamanian territory for up to ninety (90) days. After such period, the tourist must leave the country for at least 3 days in order to reenter the country.

There are certain countries whose citizens do require a tourist visa while others do not, due to International Treaties and/or Bilateral Agreements.

Among the countries that require a tourist visa are Albany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Peru, Rumania, Russia Surinam, Ukraine, most Asian countries (with the exception of Israel, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand) as well as most countries from Africa and Oceania.

Nevertheless, the Executive Decree No. 248 issued on July 21st, 2009, indicates that any person, regardless of its nationality or country of origin and with a visa issued by the United States of America, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom or any of the Estates that integrate the European Union and utilized at least once to enter the issuing country, will be allowed to enter Panama without having to request a tourist visa.

For more information, visit our website: http://www.aroslaw.com or E-Mail me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Tel: (507) 263- 0345

 

Editor’s Note: The exit fee for airport departures has just been doubled – it is now $40 US$ per person including children to leave Panama, and must be paid in cash. To avoid delays, remember to keep enough US cash aside to cover your exit fee. There is an ATM at Tocumen Airport.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 17 September 2010 00:21
 

Which is a better retirement destination? Costa Rica or Panama?

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This is an e-mail from a member asking for my opinion about Costa Rica versus Panama as a retirement destination.

 

 Hi Roberto,

I was thrilled to find a Picton guy and his wife writing about retirement destinatiions. I'm planning to head down to check out CR this winter....my 21 year old is going in three weeks....I had picked up the book Retirement Without Borders and it lists Panama as best and Costa Rica a little lower on the scale.  I'm torn between the above mentioned....but a friend from here in the beaches is selling and moving her restaurant business to Panama City....wants me to follow. Would love to chat with you both Take care, Sharon W., Toronto Canada

Dear Sharon,

I love Costa Rica. I almost bought property there six years ago. I had a beautiful oceanfront property all picked out, hired a lawyer and an accountant that knew real estate, and then I found out about CR's "squatter's rights".
 
If someone squats on your land for six months, they have a legal claim to it - so you have to hire a security guard to keep people off, but you have to fire the security guard every five months, because he will let his cousins squat and then claim it. 

The benefits to retirees in Panama was modeled after CR's. It is the best on the planet. However CR has now cancelled almost every provision they had — they have virtually no benefits at all now, whereas Panama has all of them. 
 
The final turn-offs about CR for me were:
 
A) The reaction of CR Tico's when I said I wanted to buy property there — they love tourists, and want our money, but no so much affection for immigrants. They stopped being friendly to us after we told them we wanted to move there.
 
B) The import tax — at the time (six years ago), If you brought a $40,000 vehicle into CR you paid 100% tax on it. 
In Panama, as a Pensionado, you can bring in or buy a new vehicle tax free every two years. There is also excellent, Englsih-speaking medical and dental care, modern infrastructure, direct 5 1/2 hour flights, no taxes on foreign income, no taxes on bank interest (which as of Nov 2009 was at 3.75% for a chequing account) very easy immigration procedures and the fact that Panamanians genuinly want you here. 
 
        Panama has not had much of a recession — the canal expansion is a huge economic stimulus project. The banks here are 60% liquid — very stable. There is Scotiabank, HSBC, Citi Bank, and eighty others. They use the US Dollar as currency.
 
        Panama has never had a hurricane in recorded history and few of the damaging earthquakes CR frequently has. 
 
        Add to that the 10% — 50% discount Pensionadas get off everything in Panama - groceries, airlines, car rentals, hotels, restaurants, prescriptions, medical visits and more - and it is a convincing argument for Panama over Costa Rica. 
 
 I bought in the Pacific beaches area of Panama. I like Panama City, but if I am going to move to the tropics, I want:
        A) a warm ocean, and
        B) a tropical garden
 
        I drive the one hour and fifteen minute trip to The City at least two or three times a month. I love to go shopping (you can get everything and anything in Panama City - Panama has the second largest Free Trade Zone in the world next to Hong Kong), excellent restaurants, and great bar hopping, but I would never live there — it is 1.3 million people jammed into a small area, huge traffic problems, polluted, dirty, dangerous in some areas, is NOT a walking city, and it is hot and muggy MOST of the time - it is at sea level, and only 7 degrees from the equator. (Did I mention I LIKE Panama City? I really do)
 
      It is always great to have friends around, especially in a new country, and we can always use another great restaurant in Panama. (Buy the Rsetta Stone Spanish course - you need to learn basic phrass in Spanish in Panama, don't believe the tourism/real estate hype)
 
However, as I always say, everyone's needs are different — investigate the places that meet YOUR needs. Take your time - it is a big decision. Go for at least a month, go more than one time if you can, and rent - don't buy until you have been in the country for at least six months.
 
I hope this helps. 
 
Roberto Chocolaté
 
 
 


 

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 19:04
 

The rainy season in Panama

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My brother-in-law raves about the lack of bugs in Panama. Of course he has only been here in the dry season. But he is right - there are no mosquitoes, very few flies, a few ants - other than that, the dry season is virtually bug-free in Panama.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 18:52 Register to read more...
 

Medical Strike in Panama

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Questions asked of the editor of The Panama News.com about the potential medical strike in Panama.

 
Rob Brown: Panama often touts it's medical system as one of the primary reasons to retire to Panama. In your opinion, will the potential nurses strike effect medical care in Panama? Will it effect visitors and expatriates living in Panama?
 
Eric: I doubt it will affect many visitors. Usually for them, the only contact with the public health care system is in an emergency, and in all of the strikes the emergency services are being maintained.
 
Most expats and all medical tourists get private care, which is much cheaper than health care in the USA and which is usually given by people who are part-time in the public system and part-time in private practice.  A strike in the public system does send some folks to use the private system so can have that ripple effect. It is slight.
 
The nurses may strike, but right now the medical techs are striking, and it's a problem for the system. Nobody to do the lab tests or x-rays or anaesthesia (except for the ER) and all that.
 
Eric
 
(Editor, The Panama News.com)
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 19:12
 

Where to stay in the Santa Clara area

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 Roberto:
I was wanting to find out if you could recommend a hotel or cabin or something in your area for a few days.
We are working on finalizing our trip plans and it looks like it will be around the first part of July, 2011.
We need something nice and clean, doesn't have to be fancy or expensive...

Last Updated on Sunday, 23 January 2011 12:33 Read more...
 

Murder rates in Panama

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PANAMA

Panama’s Department of Statistics reported 773 homicides in 2009, an average of 68 homicides per month, and the most dangerous provinces were reported as Colón and Panama with 37 and 29 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively. The most common motives behind the homicides in order of occurrence were quarrels or feuds, gang wars, and drug-related killings. The Department predicts around 80 homicides per month in 2010. (January, 2010)

(Reprinted from Southern Pulse/ Networked Intelligence)

 

Murder Rates in Belize highest in world: Economist Pocketbook fact labeled Belize as the 2009 per capita murder capital of the world.

 BELOW ARE COMPRABLE CANADIAN CRIME RATE STATICTICS.

SEE ALSO, JULY 29 ARTICLE: MURDER RATES IN PANAMA JULY 2009

 

Statistics Canada data

Violent crime rates in Canada.

There were 2,452,787 crimes reported in 2006; 48% were property related crimes and 12.6% were violent crimes. At a rate of 7,518 reported incidents per 100,000 people, the crime rate in 2006, the latest year for which there is statistics, was the lowest crime rate in twenty-five years.[1] The crime rate has been in general decline since 1991.

The province with the lowest crime rate in 2006 was for the third straight year Ontario with 5,689 per 100,000, followed by Quebec with 5,909 per 100,000. The province with the highest crime rate for the 9th straight year was Saskatchewan with 13,711 per 100,000. Saskatoon is the city with the highest crime rate following by its provincial counterpartReginaQuebec CityTrois-Rivières, and Saguenay have the lowest crime rates of any city and are all located in Quebec.[2] The three northern territories have higher crime rates per capita than any province.

The number of murders dropped to 594 in 2007, 12 fewer than the previous year. One-third of the 2007 murders were stabbings and another third were by firearm. In 2007, there were 190 stabbings and 188 shootings. Handguns were used in two-thirds of all firearm murders. Seventy-four youths were accused of murder, down 11 from the previous year. About eighty-four percent of murders were done by someone known to the victim. Male victims of homicide were most likely to be killed by an acquaintance, someone known to them through a criminal relationship, or a stranger. Female victims of homicide were most frequently killed by a current or former intimate partner, or another family member. The province with the highest crime rate was Manitoba while the lowest crime rates occurred in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and LabradorSaskatoon has the highest murder rate at 3.6 per 100,000 people[3].

Police reported crime rate is thought to be an under count of actual violence rates. To rectify this, approximately every five years statistics Canada conducts a survey of victimization in Canada. The last survey reported was conducted in 2004 and it found that the violent crime rate in Canada was 106 per 1,000 which is slightly lower than in 1999 when it was 111 per 1,000 [4]. .

[edit]
 

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 July 2010 16:34
 

Woody's Beach Bar and Grill reopens

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 The perennial favorite expat bar, Woody's Beach Bar and Grill reopened on November 2nd, just in time for the busy tourist season - AKA - the dry season  (December - May). 

The restaurant was badly damaged when an eighteen-foot high tidal surge crashed into the bar, destroying cement walls, twisting steel gates and crushing to death a pet toucan that was trapped in its cage. The damage to the restaurant was covered by insurance and luckily it was not structural, however Sam - the pet toucan, will be deeply missed.

The new cosmetics look great and the restaurant has all the same staff, music and menu, including their now-famous poutine. Located just down the beach from The Royal Decameron Resort in Farallon.  Closed Mondays and Tuesdays until December.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 19:04
 

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