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Old 07-12-2010, 13:40   #1
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Pros and Cons of Registering in Panama ?

I'm seriously considering registering my sailboat under a corporation in Panama. I'm currently sailing the Caribbean and in the next year or two (maybe less) heading to the South Pacific. Can anyone who has actually done this lend some advice. What are the benefits/ drawbacks for doing such a thing?
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Old 07-12-2010, 13:45   #2
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Just curiously, what advantage does that offer? I pay ~$300 dollars a year in property tax here in San Diego and keeping my USCG documentation in order is a free signature and fax every year.
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Old 07-12-2010, 13:59   #3
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Panamanian registration offers many advantages.. it's the reason the majority of ships is registered there.

I know of 1 disadvantage: if your boat was built in the USA but Panamanian flagged, you do NOT qualify for indefinite extensions of the 1-yr cruising permit in the USA.

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Old 07-12-2010, 14:18   #4
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Find someone in Washington State to receive all of your important papers. IncomeTax, boat registration, bank, credit cards, etc. to forward to you via scaning, Fed ex, or snail mail, if required.

No Property Tax, no State Income Tax (for now).
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Old 07-12-2010, 14:22   #5
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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Panamanian registration offers many advantages.. it's the reason the majority of ships is registered there.

I know of 1 disadvantage: if your boat was built in the USA but Panamanian flagged, you do NOT qualify for indefinite extensions of the 1-yr cruising permit in the USA.

cheers,
Nick.
I thought the big ships did it so they didn't need to be US Coast Guard inspected or adhere to the litany of regulations affecting heavy tonnage vessels.
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Old 07-12-2010, 14:44   #6
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I thought the big ships did it so they didn't need to be US Coast Guard inspected or adhere to the litany of regulations affecting heavy tonnage vessels.
mostly for tax reasons,,, if in US waters they are bound by US regulations,,,,including if something happens like a fire or such they are bound by the same fines the a US flagged vessel is. cargo has to be secured properly, all oil and pollution books up to date,,, crew has to have the proper treatment,,,
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Old 07-12-2010, 14:52   #7
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So yeah, I guess I'm still not seeing what advantage someone would have (minus the $300 in property taxes) for registering in Panama. And I'm sure it's not free to start a corporation in Panama, maintain it, or register a vessel.
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Old 07-12-2010, 18:50   #8
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only for commercial use

The reason many merchant ships use Panamanian flag is because of tax exemption. Panama do not charge tax for income due to business happened out of his territorial boundaries (off shore). Neither tax employment wages, insurance etc. So a cargo ship under Panama corporation and flag pay not income tax unless it make business in Panama waters.
Not very good reason to have Panamanian flagged vessel unless you intend to live in Panama and use it for charter. It is much more expensive than other flags. Also it is not as welcome as other flags in other countries.
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Old 07-12-2010, 20:18   #9
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I flagged my vessel in Grand Cayman many years ago. I did it because I was interested in limiting liability as I am a physician. Other than limitation of liability, I don't see any great advantage of flying a foreign flag. And if you plan to cruise at all in the USA, having a foreign flag is a hassle as you have to contact customs every time you move the vessel.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:17   #10
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A few years ago I researched this with my attorney and although I have property in Panama, stay there a few months most years and have my "pensionado" it didn't make sense for me.

I ended up, as with my previous boats, getting it US documented.
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:17   #11
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How to Register a Vessel in Panama

Panama Boat / Ship / Yacht / Vessel Registration :: Panama Offshore Legal Law Firm
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:57   #12
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And the protection of the Panamanian Navy instead of those pesky dull gray USN vessels and their threadbare USCG associates.

Plus you get to transit the Panama Canal at the special Residents' Rates. <G>
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Old 08-12-2010, 16:20   #13
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I flagged my vessel in Grand Cayman many years ago. I did it because I was interested in limiting liability as I am a physician. Other than limitation of liability, I don't see any great advantage of flying a foreign flag. And if you plan to cruise at all in the USA, having a foreign flag is a hassle as you have to contact customs every time you move the vessel.
Dave whats it cost to have it flagged in he Caymens- im also looking to flag mine out of the US
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Old 08-12-2010, 18:36   #14
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things change !!!!

http://www.panama-guide.com/article....01201102732929

and

U.S. & Panama Tax agreement in English - Panama Investor Blog
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:56   #15
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There is a discount when using the canal, that is a big reason for ships that transit it often to carry the panama flag. My cousin is a pilot on the canal and that's what he told me.
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