Panama is one of the few countries that has remained stable since the beginning of the world economic crisis, with positive numbers and sustained growth rates.

It houses the Panama Canal and is one of the largest logistics centers and ports in the world.

Its international recognition is mainly due to its tax system based on the principle of territoriality; which allows to organize and protect investors’ assets efficiently.

Other characteristics that have contributed to the development of the banking sector in the country are: the absence of exchange controls on the inflow and outflow of capital, that the interests accrued on bank deposits are tax-free, and a competent professional banking culture, with special laws. that stimulate their development.

Also, its Offshore Service Center stands out for being an International Banking Center, offering bank account openings from abroad and being an indispensable tool in an offshore asset protection structure.

Advantages of offshore banking in Panama.

  • They are safer banks and are financed through the fees and commissions that clients pay for their transactions or for maintaining the account. The money they deposit is untouchable.
  • Avoid capital controls. Different governments use these controls to stop the outflow of money abroad, but with an offshore account, you can access it, since it would not be under the legislation or control of your country of origin. That is, they protect assets from the dangers of civil, economic or political strife.
  • They protect their clients from inflation, using a safe currency and even having the money from the accounts in different currencies, the user can choose in which currency they want to have their money.
  • Avoid direct expropriation by decree of the government of the country of origin. Indirectly, clients solve this potential inconvenience, since the assets are protected, especially if the account holder is a public limited company.
  • Assets are not affected by court decisions made in the person’s country of residence. If, for example, due to a divorce or a lawsuit, that person had to surrender or divide their national assets, they would continue to maintain their assets in the offshore jurisdiction, thanks to bank confidentiality laws.
  • Lower taxes legally with the help of a good tax lawyer, practically everyone can reduce the amount of taxes they pay, and the offshore account is usually one of the basic pieces within this strategy.
  • It works as a provident fund in case of catastrophes. This possibility is a good reason to maintain an offshore account. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, or earthquakes can also cause the banking system in your home country to collapse.

What is the procedure to open an offshore account in Panama?

In general, the Banks will require information and references on the commercial and banking history of the interested party, in order to comply with the legal obligation of “Know your Client” and in general terms, the procedure to be followed in most of them is:

  1. Submit an online application.
  2. Initial deposit that can be made through a bank transfer.
  3. Most banks require a personal interview and during it, you must complete and sign all the forms and application forms to open an account. If you cannot move to the country, counseling with a lawyer is essential.
  4. The account opening is executed once the corresponding formats have been received. The request to open a bank account will be completed and forwarded to the Bank, then the assigned bank account number will be granted within a period that depends on the entity.
  5. Finally, and regarding the use of the account, the Bank will inform you that the account number was issued. An official will send you the instructions for making deposits, making electronic bank transfers and contact information for the Bank in Panama.

Which are the requirements?

The general requirements to open a bank account in Panama are as follows:

  • A copy of your passport.
  • A copy of a second identification showing your address (such as a driver’s license or health card).
  • A copy of a utility bill showing your address.
  • A bank reference letter.
  • A letter of reference from a doctor, dentist, attorney, accountant, engineer, registered real estate broker, or insurance agent.

The approximate time to open an account for non-resident foreigners is 30 days, although it all depends on the bank.

 Although the process can take several weeks, once the account is opened, the operations and relationships with the bank will become fluid and without major inconveniences.

Although Panama emerges as a country that allows the development of economic and commercial activities in a fiscally advantageous way, providing safe and confidential havens for those who seek to safeguard funds from the dangers of regulation and undue taxes. 

We suggest that you consult with a lawyer to establish that your application complies with certainty the laws of your country of residence, since you must consider that the laws that regulate each country are different.

At Ferguson & Ferguson we are at your disposal for any advice you need to open your bank account in Panama.