Requirements to Open a Company in Panama – Business in Panama
Business in Panama
PANAMA MEANS BUSINESS / Annual Review & Commercial Directory 2015/2016
FOCUS Publishing group
These are the steps you need to follow to open a business in Panama. Please note that you will need the service of a qualified accountant and lawyer, who will present your request to the authorities.
Create a limited company (Sociedad anónima S.A) Around 90% of Panamenian companies use the S.A, system. It offers protection to the identity of the shareholders, limits the capital and assets that could be at risk in certain situations, S.A. is the ideal instrument to separate the investment made by shareholders from their personal property. It takes between five to seven working days to create an S.A in Panama.
Set up a business location: This is where operations take place. It could be the owner’s residence or a premises specifically acquired for this purpose. The premises can be bought or subject to a rental agreement.
Obtain Notice of Operations: The notice is necessary to start operations and it is the only requirement the Goverment demands. It is a relatively quick and safe process to notify the commercial, tax and municipal authorities; making them aware that the business will start operations on a particular date. Once the notice of operations is received from the authorities the company can start commercial activities and begin billing.
Opening a bank account: This should be done after the S.A. has been created and after obtaining the Notice of Operations.
Contract the utilities and private services: This is done after the company has the documents proving that the company has been created and it has obtained the notice of operations. They are necessary to contract utilities and other private services such as Internet, cable, telephone etc.
Personnel: The workers contracts must be registered in the Ministry of Labor (Ministerio de Trabajo) and the Social Security Fund (Caja de Seguro Social)
The registration of the workers contracts protects the company against future lawsuits; if a written contract does not exist the Labor Ministry will believe the employee’s allegations against the business management. CSS workers registration is for the payment of pension and medical insurance.
Company registration: Depending on the initial investment companies can be registered in AMPYME (for up to $150,000) and the Public Registry.