Law No. 41 provides for several tax benefits, both at corporate and management level.
Corporate tax incentives:
Exemption on Income Taxes. Since Panama has a territorial tax system*, and since the MHQ will be operating off shore (providing services to its operations outside Panama), there is no taxable income.
If the MHQ provides service to its local affiliate, the MHQ will have to retain the local income tax.
Exemption from sales tax for services rendered to the Corporate Group abroad. MHQ invoicing to offshore operations are not subject to the sales tax.
The Ministry of Economy and Finances, through the General Direction of Revenue, studies the possibility of negotiating a tax agreement with MHQs whose countries have celebrated bilateral tax agreements with Panama.
Middle to General Management Personnel Incentives:
Exemption will be exempted from income tax, and social security and education contributions, when salaries are paid from Headquarters abroad.
Exemption from import tax from household items, upon arriving for the first time in the Republic of Panama.
Law No. 41 created a One Stop Window Service through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to speed up the process in order to obtain the SEM License of Multinational Companies Headquarters and visas for the foreign personnel and their dependents.
Visas for Permanent Personnel of MHQ.
These visas are issued to foreign personnel at a management or executive level, and to their dependants. The visas will be issued for 5 years, renewable for the same time frame. Holders of these types of visas will not be required to obtain a labor permit.
Visas for Dependants of MHQ Personnel
These apply for spouse, underage children or students under twenty five years old and for parents of the MHQ personnel that will remain in Panama under the responsibility of the MHQ executive.
Special Visas for Temporary Personnel of MHQ.
These visas are issued to any personnel of a MHQ that has to come to Panama for activities related to the MHQ. It has a maximum duration of 3 months. This type of visa also eliminates the requirement of obtaining a working permit or any other permit from any governmental authority.
Special visas permit for special events. These visas are to be issued to personnel of the MHQ that come to Panama to attend a specific event or short visits, such as meetings, planning, technical training, etc.
MHQs can have as many upper management personnel needed for their back office operations in Panama.
Dependants, who wish to work in Panama, can change their immigration status through the One Stop Window Service in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
Last Modification: March 25th, 2011