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to Panama necessary! Panama Banks - A foreigner can have a Panama Bank Account. The country is a tax haven with no income tax and is the foremost retirement haven in the world with a large expatriate community. The bank secrecy provided makes Panama an extremely desirable place to have your account. The banks we use provide online banking with which you can send wires, see a history of transaction, and your balance. The banks all have English speaking representatives. You can have both ATM debit cards and secured Visa cards with your account and they work all around the world. You will be required to make a security deposit, which is in a special interest bearing account that secures the card. For example, if you would like to have a credit line of $10,000 the deposit would likely need to be $11,000. The credit card bills are deducted from your regular accound. We use some of the largest banks in Panama. However, it is company policy not to give out the names and particular information of the banks unless you are a paid client and we have already received your documents. Please do not ask otherwise. The same applies to bank forms, signature cards, etc. We have written aboutwhy not to contact banks directly click here. As a law firm, we have developed relationships with more than one bank which all allow us to open an account for our clients without their presence in Panama. They vary from quite large to smaller banks with a few branches that offer a personal touch. For a corporation and bank account it takes two to three weeks (10-15 business days). Sometimes we are able to do it faster. The Process - We do welcome you to come visit our offices and the bank, and see that we both are legitimate. We can set you up with a local driver who will drive you around town and with corporate rates at hotels in the best neighborhoods. However, this is not a necessary step in the process. If you would like to visit, it's recommended that you begin the formation of the corporation or foundation first. Then, when you are here a lawyer will go with you to the bank, introduce you to the bank manager, and you can sign the signature card and various other forms. It will then take a few more weeks for the whole process to be completed. However, we will need a 50% deposit to form the corporation before you arrive in Panama, and the rest will be due when you come. You can pay us in cash or with traveler's checks when you are here if you like. Other options include Western Union and a bank wire. The bank account minimum is $1000, for both checking and savings accounts, in USD or Euros. Please be aware that many countries will require you to declare to customs if you are carrying more than $10,000 in cash or negotiable instruments with you across border. You can make time-locked deposits to get higher interest rates. Documents Required - We will need you to send us a notarized and apostilled copy of your passport and driver's license (or other form of a government-issued photo ID). If you come to Panama you just need to bring these documents, not notarize them or apostille them. We also need a bank reference letter from a recognized bank and a business reference letter with a company logo on the letter. The business reference letter can be from a lawyer or any company that you do business with. This is the documentation required for a foreigner - no utility bills or tax ID numbers necessary for either us or the bank. Stock Trading - A stock trading account can also be linked to your bank account in certain banks that we use. You can trade in stock markets worldwide with this account. There is a minimum of $20,000 to have one of these accounts. The clearing agent is one of the best out there. We can
help you with corporate and foundation stock trading accounts. Brokerage accounts are also available. These can be gotten with as sums as small as $15,000. There are online trading and live brokers available. Type of Account - We open corporate accounts and bank accounts for foundations. Only if a client has already opened up one of these types of accounts will we help you open a personal account in Panama. The most secure type of account is with a corporation or foundation. If you use one of these structures, your name does not appear on bank wires and you remain behind the scenes. Ownership of Panama Bearer Share Companies or Panama Private Interest Foundations is not recorded. The very nature of both entities makes them anonymous, and a person cannot simply use the public registry to find the owners - the Panamanian Government is not even privy to this information. Bank secrecy would need to be penetrated to find out who the signatory is in order to find this information. The name of the corporation or foundation will appear on bank wires. Those who follow the news may have heard that recently it was discovered that the USA has been scrutinizing SWIFT wire transactions for a number of years. Not having your name appear on the wires offers a lot of protection against this. We do not generally recommend that anybody have a personal bank account for these reasons. Bank Account Signatory Verification - You will be the signatory on your bank account and nobody else will have access to it. While the account balance is still zero on day one, we will instruct you how to contact the bank and securely verify that you are the only person who can have access to the account. Then, after the minimum deposit is sent to the account, you will receive he online banking information sent to you and you can change the password instantly. Any credit or debit cards will be mailed to you by courier. Nominees Changing Bank Signatories - This cannot happen. The bank will only let the signatory on the account perform this action. If anybody else were to request a change or addition of a signatory, the bank would contact you directly and ask you to give written approval of this. If this nominee were to visit the bank in person, they would need to show their identity documents and fill out all kinds of paperwork and nothing would happen that same day. They are very strict about this because if they were to be nonchalant, they could be sued for bank fraud. Of course, in this case you would say that, no, you did not authorize this, and the nominee who attempted this would be handed to the police and face jail time as well as thousands of dollars in fines. Finally, another layer of protection is that the nominees never know your account number. The banks are not ignorant of these scenarios and would recognize this as a bright red flag. You can count on them to not leave you high and dry. Number of Panama Bank Accounts - You are not limited to one Panama bank account, one bank, or one corporation or foundation. You can create all kinds of combinations of these accounts and entities. To send money around between your corporations and foundations for payroll purposes, purchases, or another reason, you can use the Panamanian ACH system that stays inside of Panama and does not leave you exposed to international laws since it does not use international wire systems. All is covered by the Panama Bank Secrecy laws. Transfers using this system take 2 days to be completed and there is a $1.00 charge per transaction. Panama Bank Secrecy - At this time Panama has not signed any tax treaties. They will not release bank information based on flimsy accusations or without the inquirer having evidence that the person in question committed a crime that is also a criminal offense in Panama. This means, no civil judgment collection treaties as well. They could not collect money based on lack of payment of child support, alimony, or any other such civil cases. Many of the other countries
which in the past have been thought of as tax havens like Switzerland, Belize, etc., have signed these treaties with many countries. The bank secrecy laws are just as the name implies - laws. If a bank employee or government official were to break these laws, they would face jail tine and fines. Plus, you would have all kinds of legal action against the bank that released the information. A common concern is that if a Panamanian Bank that is part of a worldwide chain can truly have bank secrecy. The answer is still yes because the branch in Panama must still operate under Panamanian law. Just because the bank has a presence in another country does not mean that they can compel the bank and its employees to break the law, nor does this grant the branch any kind of immunity. This contrasts greatly with other countries. For example, Belize does not have any statutory bank secrecy laws, unlike Panama. Instead, Belize considers it a "curtosy" not to give out information, but you are still at their mercy. Panama is one of the best jurisdictions today. They use the US Dollar as their national currency and also accounts in Euros and Pound Sterling. Panama is a democracy and operates with the utmost corporate, bank, and attorney privacy. Click here for a complete list of countries with tax treaties with the U.S. Violating Panama Bank Secrecy - To access your bank records one requires an order from a Panamanian judge. This is very costly and very, very difficult to do. Generally, it could only be accomplished if the account holder committed a violent crime such as drug trafficking, terrorism, child pornography, etc. Not tax issues. But let's consider the unlikely worst-case scenario in which such a thing did occur. Panama does not have a concrete list of which countries it will cooperate with. The person in question would have to already have a criminal case against him in his or her home country, and the prosecutors would need to know exactly which bank account it is that they want information from. Not just a fishing expedition. Only the national government can make such a request, not a province or state, let alone a private individual. The government would write a request through diplomatic channels and would have to be quite elaborate in what they say. Real reasons for needing this information would have to be shown, why this information is so vital to their legitimate case against an actual criminal, and they would need to explain why there is absolutely no other course of action that they could take to get it. The Panamanian government retains the right to request more detail and to deny the request in an endless cycle. Sometimes they will not officially deny a request for years, thus wasting the inquirer's time and protecting you. If an inquiry is made, they could also decide the seize the bank records themselves and investigate it, rather than giving everything over to another government. They would see if it actually violates Panamanian law first and continue to deny giving over the records for years. Luckily, there is something called statues of limitation which can possibly prevent you from being eligible for punishment if the information can't be gathered in time. Panama doesn't consider fiscal offenses criminal, so they would not give over the records based on those accusations or 'offenses' to another government. A real violent crime would have to be committed and there would have to be substantial evidence that the person in question committed the crime and that having the Panama bank records would be highly pertinent to the investigation. If the issue was civil, like a divorce or a civil judgment, you would not be a risk. No treaties have been signed that call for civil judgment collection. Something to take into consideration is the amount of banks and apartments and businesses that
have opened in Panama. This is because it's a highly favorable place for business, banking, and living. There are more than 400,000 corporations and 25,000 foundations registered in Panama. The economy is blooming because of it. There is an corporate annual tax of $300, which means that the revenue per year is $120,000,000 just from corporations. Then there are additional taxes for registered agents, etc. More than 1/5 of the work force works in the banking industry. Collecting Civil Judgments �Judgment from a civil courts cannot be levied against your Panama account, especially if it was filed outside of Panama and it was no a Panamanian judge who issued the order. It's highly likely to be thrown out of court here, even if it were pursued to Panama. This runs up legal bills for the other side and is highly ineffective. Your personal assets are immune to a civil judgment against a Panama corporation or foundation. You are not the owner of either (and cannot be if you wanted to because they are anonymous by nature). And it's very difficult to prove a fraudulent conveyance, especially if the other party cannot access your bank records. There's a three year time window to do this and all of the delays in court could reach five years. Panama is not a country that thrives on frivolous litigation and aggressive civil collection, like many other police states in the world. Panama Taxes - Panama does not tax offshore-derived income. If this is the case, there is no need to even file a tax return in Panama. Further, there are no capital gains taxes, which means you get to keep all income derived from trading or from bank interest, no real estate tax, inheritance tax, etc. It is truly a tax haven. Feel free to ask us questions by email, hush messenger or telephone. http://www.panamaexpertos.com
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