Business Formation

Hire a registered agent to prepare the articles of association

Agency: Law firm

It is necessary to hire a lawyer or law firm to serve as Registered Agent of the corporation and prepare its Articles of Association.

Time and cost: 1 day, USD 250

Notarize the articles of incorporation

Agency: Public Notary

The articles of incorporation to be notarized must include:

  • The name and domicile of each subscriber to the articles of incorporation;
  • The domicile of the company and of the resident agent, who must be a lawyer or law firm in Panama;
  • The names and addresses of the directors and the officers;
  • The name of the corporation, set out in such a way to distinguish it from other registered names already registered with the Public Register;
  • The company purpose or general objectives;
  • The name of at least the president, the secretary, and the treasurer, who may or may not be the same as the directors and need not to be shareholders and who may hold more than one office or title;
  • Details about the capital and the type and number of shares into which it is divided;
  • The company duration, which may be perpetual;
  • Any other provision the subscribers may wish to include;
  • The amount of share that each shareholder will acquire.

Time and cost: 1 day, USD 75

Register at the Mercantile Division of the Public Registry and pay the Annual Franchise Tax

Agency: Mercantile Division of the Public Registry

The entry fees are the following (since July 2013):

  • USD 50.00 for the first USD 10,000.00 in capital stock;
  • 0.75 cents for each additional 1,000.00 or fraction.

The Annual Registration Tax of USD 300 must also be paid. Payments can be made at the National Bank of Panama or at any cashier of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The National Bank of Panama has a booth at the Public Registry. This payment also can be done online.

Time and cost: 2 days, see comments

Obtain a notice of operations (“aviso de operación”) through the “Panama Emprende” website

Agency: Ministry of Trade & Industry

A notice of operations must be obtained. Law 5 of January 11, 2007 established a new on-line system called “Panama Emprende” (www.panamaemprende.gob.pa) which facilitates the creation of companies. The new system replaces the obtainment of commercial licenses for the obtainment of a notice of operation.

In addition, since April 24th 2012, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the municipality of Panama are interconnected through the online platform Panama Emprende. As a result, it is no longer required to visit the municipality to obtain a taxpayer number. Now entrepreneurs receive automatically the municipal taxpayer number together with the operation permit through Panama Emprende.

Time and cost: 1 day, USD 55 for legal entities

Request an employers’ inscription number and register employees at the Social Security Administration

Agency: Social Security Institute

Employers and employees must be registered with Social Security. The Social Security Institute takes care of the registration of employees in order to report salaries and make the payments related to welfare programs and educational taxes as well as income taxes. It manages as well insurance programs for pension, health, unemployment and and occupational accident and injury.

Time and cost: 1 day, no charge