Latin American countries have made news in the past years for providing a business friendly environment for foreign investment. Panama in particular has, for many years, been a sought-out destination for foreign companies that want to enjoy the tax benefits provided by this country. And, although Panama has also made news by events such as Panama Papers and Pandora Papers last year, the country has continued to be a top destination for multinationals, small and medium sized businesses and individuals that want to keep enjoying the benefits, complying with the law and regulations.
According to Doing Business, registering a business in Panama takes approximately 6 days, and places it in the second position in the Ease to Doing Business Ranking in Latin America. Furthermore, there are several benefits companies get for a certain period of time when their business activities help in some ways the development of the country or certain industries that promote employment, investigation, and more.
Over the years, Panama has accumulated some laws and regulations that guarantee financial privacy and secrecy. Banks can’t disclose or start investigations on any of their clients, and all information and operations are confidential. However, it is important to take into account that there are exceptions for this; during legal investigations, and under CRS reporting standard to participating countries.
Territorial Tax System
Article 694 of the Panamanian Fiscal Code states that Income Tax is paid only from the revenue made within the country borders “the taxable income that is produced, from any source within the territory of the Republic of Panama whichever be the place where it is perceived”. All the revenue collected from activities carried out from outside the country is exempt from all taxes in Panama.
Tourism and Agriculture Allowances
Law N°122 was approved in 2019 with the purpose to promote the development of touristic activities, or making extensions of projects already existing in the country. This gives companies a 100% tax credit on the money invested at the beginning of the project. In agriculture, the government also wants to help develop small areas and production. Companies are exempt from income tax if the annual income is under USD 250,000.
Free Trade Zones
In Panama, there are 3 types of Tax-Free Zones: Private, State and Mixed. As of, 2022, there are 20 Free Trade Zones in Panama, 11 active, and 9 are in development. The active ones have around 116 companies working in the area. Each of the FTZs specializes in different areas, some are focused more on commercial activities, manufacturing, industrial, education, or development.
These are some of the most popular Free Trade Zones in Panama:
Colon Free Trade Zone
The Colon Free Trade Zone is located in the City of Colon, near the Panama Canal, and with access to both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. This Free Trade Zone is considered the second most important in the world, after Hong Kong, and is also responsible for importing goods distributed to most of Central and South America. These imports come from Europe, Asia, and North America.
The Panama Pacifico Special Economic Zone
The Panama Pacific Special Economic Zone is a Commercial and Residential project of the London & Regional Panama Group that started in 2004. The companies in this free trade zone are mainly in the high-tech manufacturing industry, as well as logistics and distribution, fil, maritime and aviation, and venues and services. The companies here have big benefits, such as direct and indirect tax exemptions, legal stability of 10 years (since the registration of a company), migration benefits, and customs exceptions, among others.
City of Knowledge
The City of Knowledge or ‘Ciudad del Saber’ (in Spanish), gives incentives to all organizations, companies, etc, that work to promote and develop new investigations and innovations in science, technology, and culture. City of Knowledge also has a Foundation that supports higher education and productive activities. The companies (public and private), organizations, NGOs, etc, that have activities in the City of Knowledge are exempt from all taxes.
Register your company at the Panamian Public Registry
Obtain your Tax ID or RUC in Panama
Obtain a Commercial Operation Permit
Open a Corporate Bank Account
Get Assistance from Easyco Experts!
Do you want to know more about the Tax Benefits in Panama and how to register your company? Send us a message and we will send you all the information you need to know, as well as help and assess you to successfully start your business in Panama. Easyco also provides additional services to guarantee your company’s compliance, which include: