Belize

Belize

Synopsis

Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1854. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992 and the two countries are involved in an ongoing border dispute. Guatemala and Belize are gearing up for a simultaneous referendum to determine if this dispute will go before the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Tourism and international finance has become the mainstay of the economy. Whilst there are major local economic and policing issues Belize has been removed from the international ‘grey’ list of tax avoidance countries (Source CIA Factbook)

Star Ratings

Corporate registration efficiency

5

Cost

5

Confidentiality

4

Local Banking facilities

3

Legal system

5

Political stability

4

Reputation

2

belize

Location

Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico

Advantages of a Belize International Business Company (IBC)

Belize corporate law has been based upon similar legislation used in jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands. The IBC Act makes it possible for the administration of an IBC to be undertaken either in Belize or from another jurisdiction. However, whilst the legislation affords a high degree of confidentiality from 3rd party investigation beneficial ownership details must be recorded and accounts, whilst not on public record must be kept. Incorporation under IBC Act provides the following benefits and features:

  • IBC companies are exempt from all local taxes and stamp duty (save for registration and annual license/franchise fees) even though the administration of an IBC may be from within Belize
  • There are no minimum issued share capital requirements
  • An IBC is required to have a registered agent and office in Belize. In most cases, nominee directors will also be employed to allow anonymity to be maintained when dealing with third parties
  • Only one director is required. A company may serve as director. There are no nationality requirements for either directors or shareholders
  • Only one shareholder is required
  • The books and records of a company may be maintained anywhere
  • Accounts whilst not required to be on public record must be maintained to international standards
  • Directors have power to protect the assets of the company by transferring them to trustees, another company or other legal entities for the benefit of the IBC, its beneficial owner(s) and/or creditor(s)
  • Registered agents are authorised to verify and authenticate the signatures of all company directors and officers including those of the agents concerned
  • The name of the corporation may be in any language. It must contain the word(s) Limited, Corporation, Incorporated, Sociedad Anonima, Societe Anonyme, an equivalent or an abbreviation thereto
  • No accounts or annual summaries have to be filed with the Government, with the exception of the annual fee form to be completed and filed by the registered agent in Belize but accountancy records must nevertheless be maintained by the company or agent if nominee directors or shareholders are used

Domestic Corporate Tax

Not applicable

Personal Tax

Not applicable

Double Taxation Treaty Network

Belize has double tax treaties with the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark and the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) – The Republic of Ireland and Italy have yet to ratify their treaties with Belize.

Administration & Accountancy Services

Managed & Non-Managed Companies

SCF Accountancy & Law can provide Belize companies either in a non-managed or managed format. However, in general like all ‘international business corporation’ (IBC) jurisdictions Belize companies are generally used for ‘holding’ or low level consultancy purposes so full management services are not common, especially as the Belize has limited tax treaty protection. However, virtually all Belize companies avail of our administration services from a convenient tax free location or sub-contracted out provider to ensure that corporate activities are separate from those of the beneficial owner

Fully Managed & Branch Registrations

Where required SCF Accountancy & Law can provide fully managed services and even branch registration in another jurisdiction where tax treaty protection is required. For further details please consult with a SCF Accountancy & Law sales office

Set-Up & Annual Accountancy Fees

Please see the separate Belize Quotation Leaflet

The Ownership of BVI Companies

‘Overhead’ Discretionary Trusts or Private Interest Foundations

For tax planning reasons, normally pertaining to anti-avoidance provisions in a beneficial owner’s ‘home’ country or place of fiscal residence, and/or because of a need to ‘ring fence’ IBC assets, many clients owning a Belize company select to have it owned not by themselves but by an overhead discretionary trust or a Jersey Private Interest Foundation, Seychelles Private Interest Foundation or a Liechtenstein Private Interest Foundation (locally known as a Stiftung)

For more information on discretionary trusts and/or private interest foundations please refer to the separate information leaflets.