Starting a Business in Panama

Information on starting and running a foreign company in Panama…

In Panama it is possible to start a corporation which operates outside of the country without having to pay Panamanian taxes on the business. Because of this the Panama is home to many corporations and is a hub for worldwide business.

Both residents and non-residents may set up a business in Panama, although restrictions apply for non-citizens operating a business in the country. Foreigners may find some restrictions in certain business areas and professions, for example skilled professions such as doctors, lawyers and accountants and all retail business.

There are very few restrictions on tourism; for example hotels, tour companies or fishing charters. However, there are some restrictions on restaurants; most notably that the initial investment must be at least US$150,000.

Any commission from the sale of Panamanian real estate must be processed through a licensed real estate agency and this license is only available to Panamanians. However, it is possible for foreigners to act as an agent for one of these companies.