Corporate Legal Services in Panama: A Guide

If you are interested in doing business in Panama, you will need to find a reliable corporate attorney in the Central American country. Because by engaging with a trusted legal services provider in Panama, you will access expert knowledge related to all aspects of the local regulatory regime, so you can rest assured that your market entry will be completed in the shortest time possible and in full compliance with local norms.

types of legal structures in panama an infographic by biz latin hub
Types of legal structures in Panama – Corporate Legal Services in Panama

Panama is a high-income country with one the most prosperous economies in Latin America that saw it score a high 92.0 for ease of doing business in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report. The country recorded a gross domestic product (GDP) of $68.5 billion (all figures in USD) in 2019 and positive inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI), which reached $6 billion that same year.

The Central American nation of 4.24 million people (based on 2019 figures) has enjoyed decades of social and political stability and is known for its business-friendly attitude, highlighted by the fact it has the lowest value-added tax (VAT) and income tax rates in the region. It is also known for its territorial tax system in which only income earned within the country is taxed.

Besides enjoying a strategic geographic location, linking Central America to South America, Panama is famous for being home to the Panama Canal, a major commercial thoroughfare that connects the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, which sees approximately 14,000 ships transit through it each year.

Some of the country’s main exports include refined petroleum, coal tar oil, ships, and gold. While the United States is Panama’s main export destination, the nation also counts Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, and the Netherlands as major recipients of goods.

If you are considering entering the Panamanian market, or have already established a company in the country, read on to find out more about corporate legal services in Panama. Or go ahead and reach out to us now to discuss your business needs.

Engaging with an experienced legal firm able to provide corporate legal services in Panama is essential to ensure the success of your commercial operations in the country, especially if you are entering the market for the first time or are a non-native Spanish speaker. By working with a team of corporate lawyers, you will access ongoing legal advice on tax, labor, and civil regulations, while preventing liability risks or penalties for non-compliance.

Note that a legal services provider will also help you with time-consuming tasks that require specialized knowledge of legal concepts, such as filing forms and drafting contracts, or any other legal document required by governmental entities.

Some of the main benefits of using reliable corporate legal services in Panama include:

Legal representation: Every legal entity operating in Panama must have a locally-based legal representative in charge of representing the company before local authorities and signing important documents.

Specialist advice: A corporate lawyer in Panama will be able to offer expert advice to help you choose the legal entity that best suits your commercial activity and business goals. Note that the most common types of companies in Panama include corporations (SA) and limited liability companies (LLC).

Panama's market snapshot graphic by Biz Latin Hub
Market snapshot. ¿Thinking about opening a business in Panama? You may need to hire corporate legal services in Panama

Recruitment of local staff: Hiring local staff can be a challenging task for any foreign executive expanding into the country. A legal services provider will have extensive knowledge of the local labor market and will be able to recruit, hire, and train the best personnel for your company.

Visa application support: A corporate lawyer in Panama will have extensive knowledge of migration requirements for foreign investors, reducing the chances of rejections or delays when helping you to apply for a work visa or a residence permit.

Administrative assistance: by using corporate legal services in Panama, you will receive support in the development and keeping of agendas and minutes of shareholders’ meetings, as well as the maintenance and sending of electronic copies of declarations and legal records.

Operating license: Any company interested in doing business in Panama will need a business license to operate in the country. An experienced corporate lawyer will carry out the necessary processes before the Ministry of Commerce to successfully obtain a commercial license.

Taking advantage of tax benefits: By using legal services in Panama, you will be able to take full advantage of the tax benefits that the Panamanian government offers to foreign investors, while complying with all the regulations established by law.

Editor’s note: Changes have been made to the Panama Friendly Nations Visa, applicable as of August 2021. Read more here.

When choosing a provider of corporate legal services in Panama, it is strongly recommended to note the following:

  • Professional reputation: By examining the business records and previous client evaluations for a specific corporate legal services provider, you will be able to make an educated decision before signing any contract.
  • Legislative knowledge: Corporate regulations are regularly updated in Panama. Make sure your corporate legal services provider is aware of recent or upcoming legislative changes to mitigate regulatory inconveniences on the part of your company.
  • Industry experience: A legal services provider with experience working with foreign investors and companies in your industry will be better prepared to meet your specific business needs.
  • Information management: It is preferable that your provider of corporate legal services in Panama can manage online information management systems, allowing you to remotely access that information regardless of the time or place where you are.

At Biz Latin Hub, our multilingual team of legal specialists has extensive knowledge of corporate legal requirements in Panama and is equipped to help you take advantage of business opportunities in the country, while ensuring the good standing of your company with local authorities. With our complete portfolio of high-quality legal, company formation, accounting, and HR services, we can be your single point of contact to expand your organization into Panama, or any of the other 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where we are present.

Contact us now to receive personalized assistance or to get a free quote.

Learn more about our team and expert authors.

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VIDEO: Benefits of doing business in Panama – Corporate Legal Services in Panama

The information provided here within should not be construed as formal guidance or advice. Please consult a professional for your specific situation. Information provided is for informative purposes only and may not capture all pertinent laws, standards, and best practices. The regulatory landscape is continually evolving; information mentioned may be outdated and/or could undergo changes. The interpretations presented are not official. Some sections are based on the interpretations or views of relevant authorities, but we cannot ensure that these perspectives will be supported in all professional settings.
Legal Team Panama

Legal Team Panama

Legal Team Panama is the Biz Latin Hub leading experts on doing business in Panama The Team writes on the news, doing business, law, and changing regulations. The team are experts in corporate law, Administrative law, Employment law, Immigration law and legal advisory services. Read more about them here. You can contact Legal Team Panama via our "contact us page".

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