22.44 NEVADA, U. S. A.

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22.45 NEVIS

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22.46 NIUE

Niue, located in the South Pacific, provides a jurisdiction in an alternative time zone to the Caribbean as well as certain features embodied in the Inthernational Business Corporation Law, favourable to clients in Asia and the former Soviet Union. Niue offers total secrecy and anonymity. No requirement to disclose beneficial owners, to file annual returns or fnancial statements. No requirement to hold annual general meetings of shareholders or directors. Full exemption from taxation arising on any business activity or transaction carried on outside Niue. No minimum or maximum capital requirements. Companies may use different classes of shares at owner's option. Another virtually unique feature is the facility for the company name to be incorporated in Chinese characters as well as Cyrillic script and other accepted language forms (with an English translation). Foreign companies may be redomiciled as Niue IBC's. Names and suffixes available to indicate that it is a corporation: Limited, Ltd., Corporation, S. A., Incorporation, Inc., A/S, NV, BV, GmbH, Aktiengesellschaft, AG etc.

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22.47 PANAMA

Panama is a Republic located between Costa Rica and Columbia. It is approximately 30,000 square miles in area and has a very muggy, tropical climate. Panama's population is about 2,000,000. The largest concentrations are found inside the cities of Panama City, Colon and David. Spanish is the official language, but business is conducted in English and Spanish. Panama has a long tradition as tax haven. Panama has never taxed income from sources originating outside Panama.

The Panama Canal has been the dominant factor in the life of this former Spanish colony since it became independent from Colombia in 1903. Treaties negotiated between the United States and Panama in 1977 came into effect in 1979. They provided for eventual Panamanian control of the canal and for the virtual abolition of the Panama Canal Zone. Concerns for the security of the canal contributed to a December 1989 invasion of Panama by U.S. forces that ousted Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega.

Panama was once the unchallenged leader in the Caribbean (if not the world) in the number of offshore companies it had on its corporate register. In the early 1970's Panama could probably boast more companies than all the Caribbean tax havens combined. Some estimates ran as high as half a million companies.

But, Panama has had a history of political unrest. And while political instability had not been a cause of great concern to the offshore business community in the past, the General Manuel Noriega crisis sent many offshore companies scurrying to other tax havens. Under Panamanian law, a company can be set-up for removal from Panama on short notice.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the General Manel Noriega crisis of 1986-89 was the Crown colony of the British Virgin Islands. Since the enactment of the BVI International Business Companies Act of 1984 there have been a total of 144,000 IBC's registered in the BVI. Many of these companies emigrated from Panama.

The Bahamas enacted their own version of the BVI International Business Companies Act in 1990. Since then, over 33,000 IBC's have been registered in the Bahamas. Start-up fees and annual fees for an IBC formed in the Bahamas are less than in any of the other Caribbean tax havens, and about a third less than the costs for a similar company in the Caymans.

The Caymans, like the BVI, received a large number of migrate companies from Panama, although not nearly as many as the BVI, owing to the fact that the cost of forming a company in the Caymans is higher than in either the Bahamas or BVI. The Caymans however remain the Caribbean'' biggest banking tax haven in terms of depositor dollars. It is estimated that more than $400 billion dollars are on deposit in the Caymans more than 5000 banks.

While it is correct to speculate that before the Noriega crisis there were more offshore holding companies registered in Panama than in any tax haven in the world, there were nearly 300,000 active companies on the Panamanian Register at the end of 1993. In 1994, there were 1,300 new companies formed each month, making Panama one of the largest tax havens in the world.

Territorial Concept of Taxation

Panama became a tax exempt offshore jurisdiction in 1916 upon approval of its first Fiscal Code, which exempted all natural or judicial persons carrying out commercial transactions abroad from payment of taxes.

Panama only assesses taxes on income from activities performed within the Republic of Panama, regardless where such income is received. Operating a mine, manufacturing consumer goods, or construction of buildings are taxable events in Panama. The tax rates are high, ranging up to 50%. Special tax incentives for business operating in Panama's Colin Free Zones, plus the fact that Panama will not tax foreign source profits , make Panama one of the world's most celebrated havens in the world.

No tax on "foreign source incomes"

Panama is not a zero-tax haven like the Bahamas or the Caymans. Panama is a tax haven because it refuses to tax companies on their foreign source income . The exemption for foreign source incomes is unlikely to be changed in the foreseeable future. The Panama economy derives substantial benefit from its tax haven business. The following lists items of income considered foreign source under the Panamanian tax system, thus exempt from all tax.

  1. Income from subsidiaries incorporated and doing business in other countries.
  2. Dividends received on foreign investments from anywhere in the world.
  3. Capital gains on the sale of shares in foreign companies.
    (Courtesy of New Providence Press: Tax Havens of the World ).
Find the contact names, addresses, numbers and information for local government offices, banks, accountants, company formation services, investment and management companies, advisors, experts, maildrops, real estate agents and other useful local contacts in the THE OFFSHORE MANUAL & DIRECTORY .