Panama's Ship Registry is number-one worldwide. Due to the very low registration taxes and fees as compared to other countries throughout the world, ship registration under the Panama flag is widely used by international shipping companies.
At the time of registering into the Panamanian Merchant Marine, all vessels must pay a one-time enrollment fee, based on a graded scale, plus a government fee.
Registration of the bill of sale is US$0.20 per net registered ton or fraction thereof, plus 20% surtax. Annual tax is US$0.10 per net ton, plus other charges.
Liberal labour laws concerning Panama flag vessels are also an important consideration, and income earned on international shipping activities are specifically and expressly exempted from Panama income taxes.
It is possible to register recreational yachts in Panama. This has a different pricing structure to the ship registration described above. The registration certificate is issued for a two-year period, which is renewable thereafter.
This tariff must also be paid upon renewal of the Registration.
Please note: you must also comply with the Radio Operator requirements, in order to register the yacht in Panama.
If the yacht is more than 20 years old, then it will also be required to undergo a survey and other safety requirements.