Weekly Offshore Panama News – Nov. 15, 2013




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Welcome to the 6th edition of our Weekly Offshore Panama News roundup. This week we’ll look at the completion of a new international airport on Panama’s Pacific coast, U.S. citizens renouncing their right to live in the United States, Anti-Corruption initiatives, and a reformation of the Republic of Panama’s struggling basic education system.

Also, the sale of incredibly valuable land located at the Atlapa Conference Center, the isthmus is showing a desire to increase revenue and spur growth. This includes new, modernized conference centers and a number of landfill projects currently being proposed on either side of the Bay of Panama. Catch up with this and more in our Weekly Offshore roundup from the isthmus!

 

Panama to Host Anti-Corruption Congress

Panama will host a series of anti-corruption meetings as part of an international drive to stamp out endemic corruption and malpractice. Panama has suffered from corruption problems itself and is determined to remove a stain from its business reputation.

“The Panamanian entity was created in 2004 with the name of National Council of Transparency. The name was changed in April. Abigail Benzadon, Director General of the National Authority on Transparency, said that the conference will focus on the rule of law and the issues related to corruption, such as prevention and control.

She acknowledged that Panama has struggled in certain areas of controlling corruption, including the implementation of punishments for those responsible for acts of corruption. She said that advances in technology and education will lead to greater transparency.”

Source: Newsroom Panama

 

Number of U.S. Expatriations Reaches Record High in 2013

Indirectly intriguing news from the United States, as CNBC reports that the number of people renouncing their citizenship in the U.S. is higher than ever. Those with dual citizenship are now choosing to discard their rights to citizenship, rather than become entangled in an increasingly stiff and inflexible tax situation.

“Taxpayers who renounce their citizenship or turn in their green card can be subject to an exit tax. People who renounced last year might have avoided higher taxes on income and estates—including those on long-term capital gains—which took effect in 2013.

The reality is that the U.S. tax system gives dual citizens a good reason to walk away from their U.S. citizenship or permanent-resident status,” said Jeffrey Neiman, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “It’s a painful process but easier than staying in compliance with the law.””

Source: CNBC

 

President Martinelli Inaugurates New Airport in Coclé

Ricardo Martinelli has inaugurated the opening of a new international airport in Rio Hato, serving as a boost to tourism in the area and providing an even faster route for the large number of international resorts based on Panama’s Pacific coastline. The airport in Rio Hato is expected to link to the hub of Panama City, as well as service a large number of international chartered flights and airlines.

“President Ricardo Martinelli arrived in the presidential jet on Wednesday, November 13,to inaugurate the Scarlett Martínez International Airport in Rio Hato, Coclé.

He was accompanied by several ministers, deputies and local officials at as well as representatives from different sectors of the province of Cocle. Martinelli and Minister of Public Works Jaime Ford also inaugurated the tunnel under the airport’s runway that was built for the Pan-American Highway.”

Source: Newsroom Panama

 

Panama Working to Reform Education System

Panama’s poor performance in education is being addressed by the incumbent government after being faced with public anger over infrastructure and construction projects taking precedence over basic and secondary education. Panama is hoping to educate more efficiently and to a higher quality with hopes to match the increasing number of service and IT jobs the country will provide in the future. According to the Ministry of Education it will involve a complete overhaul of the current system, helping Panama attract foreign investors with a highly trained body of workers.

“Recent economic growth in Panama has been driven by public spending on large-scale infrastructure projects, but sustaining this expansion will likely prove difficult without improvements to the education system. While some reforms have been implemented in recent years, these initiatives have drawn criticism from teachers.

The World Economic Forum’s 2012-13 Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) ranks Panama 112th out of 144 countries surveyed in terms of the quality of the education system. This is far behind neighbouring Costa Rica (which ranked 26th) but is above other Latin American nations such as Nicaragua (121st) and Honduras (135th). Other key GCR rankings include the quality of primary education, on which Panama placed 115th, and the quality of mathematics and science education (125th). Of the reported challenges for conducting business in the country, the inadequately educated workforce was the third-greatest concern.”

Source: My Panama Lawyer

 

7 Ways to Lower Income Taxes in Panama

An article from our team published this week on our blog, highlighting the best way to help you lower your income taxes in Panama. We’ve included advice and tips in this one, so take a flick through if you’re based in Panama and seeking to reduce your income tax.

“Since Panama is a territorial based tax system which means that all income earned outside its borders are tax free; conduct all of your Panama corporation’s business outside of Panama. This can include offering products and services on the internet to anyone not living in Panama. Conduct international trade of goods between different countries other than in Panama. Panama corporations can also engage in different types of stock market trades along with Forex, commodities, securities, government bonds from companies not located in Panama.”

Source: 7 Ways to Lower Panama Taxes

 

Atlapa Conference Center Available for Half Price

Now valued at $62 million, the Atlapa Conference Center is slated to be sold in early 2014 by the Panamanian Government. At 13.5 acres the site represents a substantial investment for any interested buyers, with a number of new convention centers around Panama City set to replace it.

“After the third failed auction, the Atlapa Convention Center will be available for 50 percent of its estimated value. The sales price is now $62 million. Panama’s Tourism Authority declared the third auction to sell the convention center and its nearly 13.5 acres earlier this week, but Tourism Administrator Solomon Shamah said the sale could happen early next year.

Nearby, the government has given the ICA, a Mexican construction and infrastructure operation company, the right to landfill nearly 100 acres near Atlapa as payment for the extension of the Southern Corridor, 63 percent of which will be dedicated to real estate.”

Source: The Panama Digest

 

Free Downloadable Ebook – Panama Business Handbook

Put together by our legal team at POLS, the Panama Business Handbook is part of a series of ebooks written on topics relevant to our readers. We are aiming to provide expats and investors with the information they need, for free! Our main focus this week is successfully starting, owning and running a business in Panama – especially if you’re new to the way of doing business here.

They include such titles as –

Feel free to “pay with a like” by using the social media sharing buttons on each ebook page. We have packed each ebook with detail, providing you with the introductory legal assistance you need for potentially making the decision to make Panama your base of operations. Follow the link to download your ebooks now!

About Manoj Chatlani


Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, Panama Offshore Legal Services offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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