Special Features

Defining what’s offshore and listing all the benefits

By: Staff at Panama Offshore Legal Services / E-Mail: info@pos-inc.com || Phone (507) 227–6645

The term “offshore company” can be confusing. Any company incorporated away from the owner’s resident country is considered offshore. Usually, the term refers to a company set up in a so-called tax haven country like Panama by a non-resident foreigner. In addition, the offshore company does not conduct business within the borders of the tax haven country. Therefore, it conducts its business “offshore”.

Low or no tax

There are several benefits for owning an offshore company. Lower or no income or corporate taxes is usually the biggest reason. Tax havens don’t tax offshore companies for income earned outside the tax haven.

Not having to pay taxes usually means not having to file income or corporate tax returns with the tax haven country. That means less red tape and no accountant’s fees. Most tax haven countries just leave their offshore companies alone other than receiving a small annual fee to renew the company’s government registration. Panama only charges $300 after the first year to keep the offshore company in good standing.


The owner’s privacy is another benefit. No public documents or records contain the owner’s name. Most tax haven countries require from one to three directors and officers whose names are filed with a publicly accessed government registry. The way around having the owner as a director or officer is to have the law firm which created the offshore company use its staff to be straw men “nominee” directors and officers who follow the owner’s instructions. Besides nominee directors and officers Panama allows for corporate “bearer” share certificates which means there is no name on the share certificates other than the bearer. Whoever is in possession of these shares is the owner. Having anonymous ownership of an offshore company is a precious benefit.


Another benefit is asset protection where offshore companies own all of the owner’s assets keeping them away from creditors, ex-spouses, civil lawsuit judgments and foreign governments. Panama’s stern bank secrecy law protects its bank accounts from snooping outsiders.


There is a legal concept called “Piercing the Corporate Veil” which means there is a legal process allowing a court to order the disclosure of the actual owner. Panama has laws especially disallowing any piercing of their offshore companies corporate veils.

Low capitalization is another benefit where the offshore company can be set up with a low $10,000 capitalization stated in the offshore company registration but in reality these funds are never deposited.

Low cost

Panama law firms charge relatively lower fees than most tax havens to create offshore companies. As these fees vary between Panama law firms it is best to look around and inquire what the fees will be and what documents will be included as some attorneys start with a low fee but add on more fees for services already included with other law firm’s package fees.

Panama offers less expensive set up fees because the minimum wage for a law firm’s staff is much lower than in the U.S., Canada, or the EU. Typical Panama office workers earn $2.14 per hour in 2012.

A Panama offshore company can be formed at lower costs, provide better privacy, and can keep outsiders from inquiring about offshore company bank accounts than any U.S., Canadian, or EU country.

Happy selling in Pacific beach area

Preparation: the key to smooth property transactions

By Concept Panama Real Estate

selling in Pacific beach area

At decision time, selling your property takes a lot more than stickingon a price, listing with a real estate agent and waiting for a buyer. Sale time is time to get prepared to transform that upcoming offer into a smooth closing and prompt payment.

I’ve been known to get pushy about clients contacting their attorney immediately. It is extremely important to know where you stand on your property and corporation taxes and to know if you have a property tax exoneration in place. Number one: let the lawyer know that you have your house, condo or lot on the market and what price you are asking.

Then they will be able inform on tax obligations and closing costs at pending sale of property. Introduce them to your real estate representative so they can prepare to move forward.

Know what cards you’re playing with – know your tax and closing obligations before determining the sale price of your property.You will be well prepared to respond quickly to an offer.

The last thing a seller wants is to put off a potential buyer by taking days or even a week to respond to an offer, or worse, accepting an offer only to find out that the tax bill is too high to make the closing possible.

selling in Pacific beach area

Ducks are in a row, focus on curb appeal

It’s time to focus on the property itself. Let’s call it ‘curb appeal.’ Put more effort and improvements into the property than ever before. Take the time to touch-up that old paint, adjust those crooked drawers and cabinets.

Clean your clutter. Organize closets. Tidy up the patio, deposits, car-ports and tend to the garden. With some effort and elbow grease your property will be more appealing to potential buyers - unless you want to sell as a ‘fixer upper.’

Be prepared to vacate the property during a showing…it’s the best way to get an offer.

Panama Ironman 70.3 coverage

Lance Armstrong’s Panama visit sparks Ironman-size media storm

By Jacob Ehrler

Panama Ironman 70.3
Trey Bohn (center) of Vista Group, stands at the finish line, flanked By Arturo Diaz (right) and Alejandro Velasquez (left) of BN Sports. Photos: Delisa Barcia of Vista Group.

Panama Ironman 70.3Lance Armstrong completes the Ironman 70.3 Panama, taking second to New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty. The race generated numerous headlines worldwide.Photos: Delisa Barcia of Vista Group.

Last Sunday Panama City hosted a big international sporting event that earned the country nearly 800 headlines in 13 countries. A last-minute participant confirmation by star athlete and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong in the first-ever Panama Ironman 70.3 sparked the media frenzy.

The event, result of a deal struck by the Panama consulting firm Vista Group, gave the country an opportunity to show off its best features to the world, with the summer-like “verano” weather as a backdrop. More than 600 racers from 35 countries competed in what was a truly world-wide event. More than 600 local volunteers assisted in the race’s logistics and athlete support.

The event took place on both sides of the Panama Canal, with Ironman triathletes swimming in the famous waterway, then biking over the Bridge of the Americas and beyond before returning to the city to finish the event with a run along the Causeway and around Amador. Athletes had the opportunity to win cash prizes and to qualify for the biggest annual Ironman event, scheduled for late this year in Hawaii.

Panama media storm

An Ironman-sized media storm began late last week when former pro cyclist Lance Armstrong announced a last-minute signup to participate in Panama’s first Ironman triathlon event. The athlete, famous for the yellow bracelets that bear his namesake in support cancer research through his foundation, was a the key to amassing perhaps the largest media spin on an event hosted by Panama.

The result of the event was a tally of over 620 English-language news articles published as well as over 160 in Spanish. Coverage extended through 13 countries. Some of the media outlets include ESPN, Associated Press, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, CBS News, Toronto Star, The Guardian and Business Week.

Panama in over 700 headlines, in 13 countries:

United States, Canada, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Australia, Mexico, Peru, United Kingdom, Norway, Italy, Japan, Austria

“Panama put on an incredible show,” says Trey Bohn of Vista Group, “The fans, volunteers and athletes all had a great time last Sunday and the race couldn’t have been more exciting. Having Lance Armstrong bring the attention he does to any event was an added bonus. Two-time Olympic medalist Bevan Docherty showed why he was a threat to win, running down Lance in the final mile of the race to finish first. Panama showed why they belong in the conversation of destinations for world-class events.”

The consultant continued: “It was a great experience and offered Panama yet another chance to showcase it’s ability to put on world-class events. Salo Shamah at ATP, Dayra Fábrega at the Presidency, along with Arturo Diaz and Alejandro Vasquez with BN Sports, deserve an enormous amount of praise. I know everyone is already looking forward to next year’s race and beyond.”

Panama Ironman 70.3

About Vista Group

In addition to business development and public relations, Vista Group assists clients with international events in Panama. The consultancy firm reports that Ironman was a natural fit due to Panama’s connectivity, the stable climate. "The fact that the Ironman organization did not have a February venue slotted for its monthly event coincided perfectly with the fact that February is Panama’s best weather month," said Trey Bohn, president of Vista Group. "We worked with Ironman's COO and events director. A former White House colleague, who is an avid triathlete, put us in touch."

Bohn told The Visitor that organizing the event took the course of a year, as Vista Group worked with Ironman representatives in the region, BN Sports, and Allen Bietel with UTP, Panama’s local racing federation, to promote Panama to Ironman as a possibility for their next overseas racing destination. Bohn sys that the Ironman organization was impressed with Panama’s ability to put on a world-class event.

The future of Ironman in Panama

Panama has signed a 3-year agreement for Ironman 70.3 Panama. Early estimates project that the event will inject somewhere between $15 and $20 million into the local economy.