Some common questions on Offshore Companies

This FAQ is limited to Panama, BVI and Belize. Other jurisdictions may have other issues. Offshore Corp. is used hereinafter to refer to a Panama, BVI or Belize company.

I. Advantages  ( Go to Advantages )
II. Incorporation

2.1 What information is needed to form an Offshore Corp.?

2.2 Must the client come to our offices to form a Corporation?

No, we will incorporate the company within 10-15 days after receipt of the Incorporation Form and the Fees. Shelf companies are available for immediate delivery.

2.3 What is the minimum time within which your firm can form an Offshore Corp.?

After receipt of the complete Incorporation Form and the Fees, we will incorporate the company within 10-15 days thereafter. But we have shelf companies ready for immediate delivery.

2.4 Do you maintain Corporations on shelf?

Yes.

2.5 Can the corporate name end with Limited?

The name may be in any language, but it must terminate in a word or an abbreviation thereof, indicating that it is a corporation. The word Limited or Ltd. Is fine for BVI or Belize, but for Panama, it must be borne in mind that the word Limited or its usual abbreviation Ltd. does not indicated a corporation in Panama, but rather a form of partnership. The name may terminate in Corporation or Corp., Incorporated or Inc., Sociedad Anónima,Société Anonyme, S.A., A.G. or others. Words or expressions in any language meaning Bank, Trust ,Fund or suggesting that the corporation is such an institution may not be used without the permission of the Superintendency of Banks. However, expressions such as Securities, Finance, etc. are permitted.

2.6 Are there any restrictions to the objects and activities of an Offshore Corp.?

No, an Offshore Corp. may engage in any lawful business.

2.7 Must the names, addresses and nationalities of the beneficial or ultimate owners of an Offshore Corp. be disclosed to the local Government?

No.

III. Capital and Shares

3.1 Is there any minimum amount of capital which must be paid-in before doing business?

No.

3.2 Can Offshore Corps have no par value shares?

Yes.

3.3 Which is the minimumauthorized capital to pay the minimum registration tax?

US$ 10,000.00 for Panama, US$50,000 for BVI/Belize or 500 no par value shares.

3.4 Can you have bearer shares on an Offshore Corp.?

Yes.

3.5 Can an Offshore Corp. have different classes of shares?

Yes, it may have preferred or non-preferred shares, convertibles shares or any other class provided for in the articles of incorporation.

IV. Shareholders

4.1 Are there any restrictions on the number of shareholders?

No.

4.2 Must there be an Annual General shareholder’s meeting?

No, unless there is such requirement in the articles.

4.3 Can share holders be represented by proxy?

Yes.

4.4 Can special shareholder’s meeting be held outside the jurisdiction?

Yes.

4.5 Can notice of shareholder’s meetings be waived?

Yes, before or after the meeting

V. Directors

5.1 Is there are minimum or maximum number of directors?

In Panama, there is a minimum of 3 directors and no maximum. In BVI/Belize, the minimum is 1 individual or corporation.

5.2 Must there be directors who reside in the jurisdiction?

No.

5.3 Must directors be locals?

No.

5.4 Must directors be shareholders?

No.

5.5 Can directors be represented by proxy?

Yes.

5.6 Can director’s meetings be held abroad?

Yes.

5.7 Do you provide nominee directors of your confidence?

Yes, at a fee per year. Please go to Fees.

VI. Officers

6.1 Are there any required officers?

A Panama Corp. should have at least a President, a Treasurer and a Secretary.

6.2 Must officers be directors or shareholders?

No.

6.3 Must officers be nationals or residents?

No.

6.4 Is it possible under Pma. Law to have a corporate secretary rather than an individual?

Yes

VII. Bank Accounts

7.1 Can an Offshore Corp. have bank accounts abroad?

Yes.

7.2 Must there be a bank account in the jurisdiction?

No.

VIII. Financial Statement and Tax Returns

8.1 Is an annual report required to be filed with the local Government?

No, if all income is from foreign source.

8.2 Must financial statements be filed in the jurisdiction?

Yes.

8.3 Must Offshore Corps. doing business abroad file annual tax returns locally?

No.

IX. Taxation

9.1 Is there an annual tax payable by Offshore Corps.?

Yes, yearly. Panama: US$350. BVI: $350. Belize: US$250

9.2 Is there a corporate income tax on income from operations abroad?

No.

9.3 Is there a capital gains tax from operations outside the jurisdiction?

No.

9.4 Is there a dividend tax from income derived from offshore operations?

No.

9.5 Are there any other taxes to Offshore Corps. doing business outside the jurisdiction?

No.

X. Miscellaneous

10.1 Are there any exchange controls?

No.

10.2 Is there any governmental authorization required to increase the corporate capital?

No.

10.3 Is it possible to perform services of process to the resident agent of an Offshore Corp.?

No, the resident agent is not empowered for such acts and he is not a legal representative of the corporation.

9.4 Is there a dividend tax from income derived from offshore operations?

No.

9.5 Are there any other taxes to Offshore Corps. doing business outside the jurisdiction?

No.