Establishing an Office

An Expert's View about Business Administration in Panama

Last updated: 25 Apr 2011

Establishing an office in Panama is a straightforward process. There is plenty of office space available with many options related to location and cost. Panama has one of the most modern and flexible corporate law frameworks in Latin America.

Below are some of the advantages offered by Panamanian corporate law:
•Two or more persons of any nationality may organize a corporation for any lawful purpose. They do not have to be domiciled in Panama. The articles of incorporation may be executed anywhere, even outside of Panama, and in any language, provided a Spanish translation is submitted for registration.
•There are no requirements regarding the amount paid in capital.
•Ownership of a Panamanian corporation may reside in a single individual or corporation and no part of the capital needs to be held by a Panamanian except if it is to undertake certain operations within Panama.
•There are no nationality or residence requirements for shareholders.
•Neither the directors nor the officers are required to be shareholders.
•The Board of Directors must be composed of at least three directors, but one person may hold more than one position.
•Meetings of shareholders or directors may be held outside of Panama and through electronic means. Proxies may be used by shareholders/directors.

In order to form a corporation in Panama, the client must furnish the following information:
•The name of the corporation. It may be in any language, but it must terminate in a word or abbreviation indicating that it is a corporation.
•The objectives and purposes of the corporation.
•The amount of the authorized capital. Usually the authorized capital will consist of US$10,000 divided into 100 shares of US$100 each. Shares may be nominative or bearer shares.
•Duration of the corporation, usually perpetual.
•The full names and addresses of three or more directors and/or officers.
•The domicile of the corporation.

The time period usually involved in setting up a corporation is from fifteen days to two months. Attorney fees usually range from US$600 to US$1,500 per corporation.

Every corporation organized pursuant to the laws of Panama must have a resident agent within Panama, who must be an attorney. The annual fee for this service is about US$200. It is estimated that over 400,000 corporations are registered in Panama.

Posted: 24 April 2011, last updated 25 April 2011

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