If properly-structured, Belize company incorporation is a straightforward, tax-efficient way to conduct international business:
Advantages of Belize company registration
- Belize company incorporation is cost-effective and straightforward, with low government business registration fees. The annual government fee is US$100 for an IBC whose authorised capital does not exceed US$50,000. For an IBC whose authorised capital exceeds US$50,000, the annual fee is US$1,000. Belize company incorporation has no minimum paid-up capital requirements;
- Belize provides a stable business climate for investors, as the exchange rate is fixed for 25 years. In addition, Belize enjoys preferential treatment for trade in certain commodities with the Caribbean Common Market, the USA, the European Community, and Canada;
- In accordance with the Belize Income and Business Tax Act, the international profits of a properly-structured Belize IBC are legitimately tax-exempt. There is no dividends tax, or tax on other distributions paid by the company to non-residents of Belize, and there are no capital gains taxes. Because Belize is a trading jurisdiction in its own right, with a diversified economy, it is not perceived as a tax haven;
- A Belize international business company (IBC) is commonly used by international entrepreneurs to hold real estate assets outside Belize, or to collect commissions, royalties, or dividends;
- A minimum of one shareholder and one director is required for Belize company formation. The shareholder and director can be the same person, and need not be resident in Belize. Corporate shareholders and directors are permitted;
- Belize committed to complying with OECD guidelines in 2002 but remains on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ‘grey list’ as the OECD judges Belize to have not yet implemented legislation to enforce compliance. Belize does not comply with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) either;
- Following Belize company incorporation, an IBC is not required to submit annual tax returns or audited financial statements;
- It is easy to open global corporate bank accounts to support Belize company formation. Healy Consultants works with internationally recognised banks such as HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Citibank to provide corporate bank account services.
Disadvantages of Belize company registration
- Information on shareholders and directors is not available for public inspection following Belize incorporation;
- Foreign investors planning to use their IBCs for merchandising, real estate, insurance, transport, tourism, accounting, and legal services, require a special license from the Belize government. Belize is negatively ranked as the world’s 102nd freest economy in the Heritage Foundation’s 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, a measure of freedom enjoyed in business, trade, monetary, financial, investment, and labor markets;
- Belize is negatively ranked as the 109th least corrupt country in the 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International;
- According to the IBA Anti-money laundering forum, there is limited anti-money laundering legislation in place in Belize.
Accounting and tax considerations
- In accordance with the 1990 IBC Act, a Belizean International Business Company (Offshore Company) is exempt from all tax and duty on its income and profits;
- Companies in Belize are required to maintain to keep their accounting records for six years. The accounts should be presented in Belize Dollar;
- Belize has double tax treaties with the UK, Sweden, Denmark, and the countries of the Caribbean Community.
Incorporation costs in Year 1 amount to US$1,800 and annual company costs in Year 2 and thereafter amount to US$1,100. The average fee per Belize engagement amounts to US$5,950, which includes company incorporation, opening a local corporate bank account, and all government fees. Refer to draft invoice embedded here.
Did you know about Belize?
- Belize gained complete independence from the United Kingdom on September 21, 1981. George Cadle Price was the first prime minister of independent Belize. He served from 12 September 1981 to 17 December 1984;
- The constitution of Belize provides for freedom of religion. Almost 80% of the population is Christian. Hindus, Bahais, and Buddhists are some of the minorities present in the country;
- Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language. Apart from English, there are many recognized regional languages: Kriol, Spanish, Garifuna, Maya, and Plautdietsch;
- Belize has a small private enterprise economy which is largely dependent on agriculture, agro-based industry and merchandising. Tourism and construction and the recent discovery of oil field have presented new prospects for the country. The estimated GDP of the country is US$1.354 billion dollars. Major trading partners are the United States of America, Mexico, Central America, and the European Union;
- The Maya are thought to have been in Belize and the Yucatán region since the second millennium BC; however, much of Belize’s original Maya population was wiped out by disease and conflicts between tribes and with Europeans. Three Maya groups now inhabit the country: The Yucatec, the Mopan, and Kek’Chi.