Item description for The Private Interest Foundation of Panama (Harris, Marc M. Harris Offshore Manual.) by Marc M. Harris...
The Republic of Panama is recognized worldwide as a financial service provider. Seventy percent of Panama's economy is derived from the financial services that it offers. Panama has the necessary features to operate as an effective tax haven: receptive attitude toward foreign investors, economic and political stability, secrecy and confidentiality in banking and corporate law, excellent communication system, geographic location, no money exchange control laws, uses the American dollar as its currency and much of the labor force is bilingual. Among the special opportunities which Panama offers are: stock companies, open ship registration, Colon Free Zone, the Panama Canal, trust services, factoring, banking secrecy laws, and the Private Interest Foundation.
The Private Interest Foundation as an entity is the latest attribute established by the Panamanian Legislative Branch to help secure Panama's position as a tax haven. The 1995 legislation was drafted to complement the interests of foreign investors, especially those seeking asset protections. An additional protection provided by the 1995 legislation is that all persons involved in any activities, transactions or operations related to the Foundation are required to maintain full secrecy and confidentiality at all times. The punishment for breach of this duty is six months of imprisonment and fifty thousand-dollar fine, with the potential for further civil liability. This applies to persons involved in any transaction (constitution, amendments, by-laws, etc.) of the Foundation, irrespective of whether they work in the private or public sector. With the proper planning, a Private Foundation can be used as an integral part of estate planning. It is useful to keep in mind that Foundations have been established with the intent to attract capital from foreign investors, and in exchange the investor will receive secrecy on the operations made, asset protection and tax exemptions. In the event of political instability in Panama, the Foundation could relocate to another jurisdiction, subject to such jurisdiction's recognition of the Foundation. In this way the Foundation can protect itself from government instability and the assets cannot be expropriated.
A Private Interest Foundation, a legal entity, consists of the following parties: a Founder who establishes the foundation and funds the foundation with assets, referred to as "the patrimony"; and a Foundation Council that administers these assets, consistent with the objectives of the foundation, which are designated in the Memorandum of Constitution by the founder. There are two types of foundations: an inter-vivos foundation, which may be established during the founders lifetime, and a post-mortem foundation, which is established after his/her death. The Private Interest Foundation, once registered in the Public Registry, is considered an independent, legal person, apart and separate from the Founder.
The Founder, or third persons, may transfer assets to the Foundation. The Foundation can be used to hold any type of asset, present and/or future, and may derive its income from any type of legal business, which should be held in an underlying corporation. The assets of the Foundation will constitute a separate estate from those of the Founder and Beneficiaries. They may not be seized or subjected to any lawsuits in connection with activity of the Founder or Beneficiary. Under no circumstances shall the assets of the Foundation be used to satisfy personal obligations of the Founder or of the Beneficiaries. Often the Founder retains control over the Foundation through maintaining the power of appointment of the Foundation Council. The Founder may additionally serve as a member of the Foundation Council, as a Beneficiary or as Protector. The Founder retains the power to remove all of the foregoing if so desired or can reassign these powers to another person in the Foundation. The Founder can be a natural or legal person. Furthermore, a nominee could be used as the Founder, wherefore the individuals name does not need to appear in the Memorandum of Constitution.
The Foundation Council is similar to the Board of Directors of a corporation. It makes all the decisions, for the benefit of the Foundation. The council has the obligation to administer the Foundation assets for the benefit of the Beneficiaries. In case of mismanagement of the assets of the Foundation, by the Foundation Council, the Beneficiaries can object to the actions of the council.
The Beneficiaries are the persons for whose benefit with the Foundation is established. They can be natural and/or legal persons. The objectives of the Foundation often address the education, health, food and other day-by-day living requirements of the beneficiaries, such as the family members of the Founder. The Beneficiaries of the Foundation need not appear in the Memorandum of Constitution of the Foundation. Only the persons involved in the creation of the Foundation know the identities of the beneficiaries, as established in the By-laws. The By-laws are private and are not registered in the Public Registry. In order for a third party to identify the Beneficiaries of a Foundation, he or she must have a court order to "pierce the corporate veil."
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Private Interest Foundation of Panama (Harris, Marc M. Harris Offshore Manual.)?
Save your money Jan 12, 2008
This book reads like an advertisement for the Harris Organisation or a corporate brochure. Its funny, the back of the book has the phrase, "This manual may not be intended for you...", which is quite apropos, because it clearly was not in my interest to read or buy this book. There was plenty about the Panama legislation, but nothing about the history of foundations or the practical use of such structures. I want my money back.
Mark Harris is the best, top financial expert! Oct 3, 2007
One of the most intelligent, well rounded, enterprising people on this planet. A financier, not unlike Michael Milken, he exposes clearly and simply the many benefits of an entity called "foundation". Based on the original financial vehicle from the Liechtenstein called Family Foundation, the Private Interest Foundation of Panama can operate as an instrument to transfer real estate, LLC's, corporations and prevent heirs from attacking the assets therein. Although definetely not a tax evasion scheme, and not intended to defraud the IRS in any way, a Private Interest Foundation can operate as an entity which greatly minimizes exposure, yet can generate international revenue through high-yield investments not commonly accessible to US investors. Marc Harris opens a whole new world of business and financial opportunities to his readers.
Good treatise on Panama Foundations, but... Nov 18, 2006
Mr. Harris appears to give a thorough introduction to the Panama Foundation, but his own qualifications are questionable. Be sure to do your own due dilligence on the author.
I would still recommend the book to anyone exploring offshore structure alternatives.
Panama has a lot going for it Dec 6, 2001
Panama has many good things going for it. First, it's the safest place in Central or South America (the Pinkerton Global Intelligence Agency recently gave Panama its highest rating for tourist safety). It's also one of the most developed countries south of the United States (home to some of the biggest companies in the world, including 120 banking giants and other Fortune 500 companies, including Federal Express, DHL, Sears, Price Costco, and Bell South).
Plus, Panama has a stable government, a stable currency (the U.S. dollar since 1904), and virtually no inflation. In other words, this country is the exception to the rule in Central America. As The Economist recently reported, in Central America, "Panama has stood apart, sustained by its Canal, its banks, and its free-trade zone."
In other words, Panama has its act together. And is poised to become one of the most attractive overseas havens in the world in years to come.
All of these factors add to the value of creating a foundation in Panama, even if you don't choose it as a retirement haven.
A great alternative to Liechtenstein Oct 16, 2001
The Panama foundation described in this book is a modest priced alternative to the Liechtenstein foundation, on which it was patterned. But as the Panama legislation is several decades newer, it is more flexible and offers a useful alternative to the average investor seeking offshore asset protection.