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    Frequently Asked Legal Questions: Clear Answers from Experts

    Find answers to your most common legal questions with our collection of frequently asked questions. Our experienced attorneys offer detailed explanations and practical advice to guide you through your legal concerns.
    What are offshore companies?

    In simple terms, an offshore company is one that is based overseas. For example, a Panamanian company whose operations are conducted outside of Panama.

    In this regard, the country does not have any special laws for offshore companies, as the income from these operations is not considered in Panama.

    Offshore companies do not pay taxes in Panama except for the Unique Tax, an amount of around $300 per year, basically to exist legally.

    However, these companies must pay the taxes they are required to pay in the country where they are operating.

    Furthermore, although they do not pay taxes in Panama, their accounting information must be reported to their Resident Agent in the country, who will monitor it correctly and safeguard the information in case it is requested by a competent authority. It is worth clarifying that this information is confidential.

    In general terms, these types of companies facilitate global trade and minimize the payment of international taxes.

    Do all companies have to have an operation notice?

    The quick and simple answer would be no, not all companies in Panama must have an Operation Notice.

    The Operation Notice is a document that indicates that the Public Limited Company is going to engage in a commercial activity, therefore, those companies that were created solely to fulfill the role of asset holders do not need it.

    The request for an Operation Notice is made online, after requesting a user on the website of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries of Panama (PanamaEmprende.gob.pa), and the procedure has a minimum cost of 55 balboas that can be paid even with a Credit Card.

    Although the issuance of the Operation Notice must be immediate, sometimes it takes between 24 and 48 hours.

    This document must be signed by the processor and the legal representative of the Public Limited Company, and placed in some visible place in the commercial premises or business.

    If you want to avoid inconveniences when processing your Operation Notice or need legal advice on the formation of your Public Limited Company, contact us. We are a law firm in David, Panama, with more than 12 years of experience.

    What is the immigration regulation process for people who want to settle in Panama?

    The migration process in Panama depends on the type of visa the person is aspiring to obtain and the individual's circumstances (such as being married to a Panamanian, having children born in Panama, being retired, or wishing to establish a business here, among others).

    The general requirements for these applications are:

    1. Police record (criminal history).

    2. If accompanied by dependents, marriage certificate and birth certificates of children, if applicable. Both documents must be brought by the person from their country of origin.

    If the police record shows any criminal history, the person must request a "Visto Bueno" (Good Standing) from Immigration to apply for the visa. This institution will decide if the document is suitable for use within the application.

    3. Five passport-sized photos.

    4. Health certificate.

    5. A notarized copy of each page of the passport.

    6. Specific requirements for each type of visa.

    These types of applications for temporary stay permits or permanent residence usually take between 4 to 6 months.

    The cost of these procedures ranges from $700 to $1500, not including lawyer fees, which vary depending on the type of visa applied for.

    Need expert advice? Consult with us at Candanedo Correa; we can help.

    What are the requirements to establish a corporation in Panama?

    In Panama, the formation and registration of Anonymous Societies are governed by Law No. 32 of February 26, 1927. The basic requirements for incorporation are:

    - Two individuals who will sign the Articles of Incorporation (partnership agreement), referred to as subscribers. Their full names and addresses must be included in the document.

    - Name of the company. It may or may not be the same as the commercial name of the business. It cannot be identical or similar to that of another existing company and must include an abbreviation indicating that it is an anonymous society.

    - Business activities of the company.

    - Three different individuals who will serve as directors. They may or may not include those who are already subscribers.

    - Three officials who will serve as President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the anonymous society. They can be the same subscribers or directors, and one person can hold one, two, or all three positions.

    - The amount of the social capital and the nominal value of the shares.

    - Any other lawful clauses agreed upon by the subscribers as special provisions.

    With this information, the signed partnership agreement will be taken to a Notary and subsequently registered with the Public Registry.

    Anyone wishing to register an Anonymous Society in Panama must be willing to have the lawyer who establishes the company and becomes its Resident Agent conduct an investigation into who the Ultimate Beneficial Owners of the company will be. We call this investigation Due Diligence, and its aim is to prevent the crimes of Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This Due Diligence will determine the level of risk for both the client and the lawyer, and following the investigation, the lawyer will decide whether to take on the client.

    Do you have any further questions or need assistance with any of these procedures? Contact us, at Candanedo Correa Abogados, we specialize in these matters and can assist throughout Panama.

    Do I need a lawyer to apply for a visa in Panama?

    Indeed, the law stipulates that individuals must have a lawyer to apply for a visa in Panama.

    However, at Candanedo Correa, we believe that this is not solely a matter of legal compliance; rather, the guidance of a lawyer facilitates the entire process for foreigners who may be unfamiliar with how the public institutions in Panama operate and find the process cumbersome at the National Immigration Service.

    To cite an example, the Visa for Friendly Nations establishes requirements such as apostilled or legalized documents before the Panamanian Consulate, certificates from various institutions, banking procedures, or procedures before the Public Registry, and other documents that demonstrate the need for temporary or permanent residency. These can all be verified by a lawyer.

    In this regard, our lawyers will ensure that the file is complete to avoid returns, delays, and denials from Immigration, whether in Chiriquí or Panama City.

    At Candanedo Correa, we have extensive experience and knowledge of the regulations and rules applicable to the various visas offered by Panama, and we guarantee bilingual, close, and personalized advice.

    How is payment for real estate made during the buying and selling process in Panama?

    In Panama, when purchasing real estate, typically, 10% of the total property cost is paid as a down payment; and the remaining 90% is paid upon the property's registration in the Public Registry under the new owner's name.

    This 90% is secured through promissory letters of payment issued by a bank, which are released upon the property sale being registered.

    Another way to secure it is through certified or manager's checks for the equivalent amount of 90% of the sales price; these checks are held in custody by a third party or one of the parties' lawyers. These checks are also released upon registration.

    At Candanedo Correa, we can assist you with all these real estate matters. Consult with our expert team.

    How to buy or sell residential property in Panama?

    Searching in reliable information spaces for announcements about the type of properties being sought or based on recommendations from others who have invested before and had a good experience.

    After deciding and identifying the property you want to acquire, it is recommended to hire a real estate lawyer to conduct an investigation on the property to verify that everything is up to date: if there are no mortgages or lawsuits, there are no outstanding liens, and all legal requirements for the sale are met.

    Then, a purchase promise contract is established with the seller, defining the rules of how the sale of the real estate will be carried out. It primarily serves to clarify the sale price and payment terms.

    This applies to both residential properties and other types of real estate. The significant difference may be that the investigation conducted on the property must involve registration with the Public Registry of improvements made to the property.

    For example, if a house was recently built on the residential property being evaluated but is not registered in the Public Registry, the lawyer must alert about this situation and proceed with the necessary registration to rectify this gap.

    If the opposite is the case; that is, the property appears in the Public Registry as a lot with construction included, but the house no longer exists, it is necessary to declare a demolition in a process before the National Land Authority. This declaration must be made before selling the property or during the sales process.

    Need information or advice on buying real estate in Panama? Consult with us, we can help you.

    How to issue shares of a public limited company?

    A Public Limited Company is a legal entity whose share capital is divided into shares; These shares represent the participation of each partner in the company.

    Some people turn to public limited companies to do commercial business in Panama or even to buy real estate, as it offers operational, tax and property advantages.

    The shares of a Public Limited Company are issued in Panama in favor of whoever contributes to the capital of the Company and this issuance is carried out through a Board of Directors. There it is decided to whom and in what proportion the shares will be issued.

    After this agreement, the corresponding certificate is issued and delivered to the beneficiary.

    It is essential that each shareholder maintains the certificate that represents his or her participation in the company.

    The information – name and personal data – of the shareholders and the number of shares of each one is confidential and cannot be located in the public registry.

    If you have any questions about this topic, you can contact us, we are a team specialized in these topics.