Business entities in Belize

Belize businessMost of our Clients are interested to register an international company with the International Business Center of Belize. Such entities, legally tax exempt in Belize, are usually used as international trading vehicles. Alternatively, Belize has also become popular for holding assets through an offshore trust or an international foundation and is also increasingly used as an manufacturing and re-export hub to overseas markets. Please read the page below for further information available on the different types of business entities available in Belize, and their best uses.

  • Doing business outside of Belize with a local entity

    The Belize offshore company (Belize IBC company)

    • Belize international business companies (IBCs) can be registered with i) one shareholder ii) one director and iii) a minimum share capital of US$1. Neither the director(s) nor the shareholder(s) are required to be resident in Belize, although the International Business Center will require appointment of one registered agent;
    • A Belize IBC is legally exempt from all taxes in Belize but can only trade with customers residing outside of Belize. Such entity is required to prepare financial statements but not to file them with the IBC Registrar and there is also no public records of shareholders and directors;
    • Best uses for a Belize international business company: a Belize IBC is a good entity for trading. It can also be used as a holding vehicle, although it does not have access to double taxation avoidance treaties.

    The Belize international pass through company (Belize international LLC)

    • The Belize pass through company is an entity similar to the United States limited liability company. Similarly to a partnership, it is not counted as a separate legal entity for tax, so all earning are directly deemed as distributed to its member(s). Unlike a partnership, the none of the members are however required to be fully liable for the LLC’s losses and debt;
    • Apart from the above, the registration requirements of a Belize international LLC are similar to those of a Belize IBC;
    • Best uses for a Belize international limited liability company: This entity is a good vehicle to sign contracts and offer professional services to international customers.
  • Doing business inside of Belize with a local or foreign entity

    The Belize limited liability company (Belize 250 Company)

    • Foreigners willing to do business with Belizean residents can register a local company, which only requires i) one shareholder ii) one director and iii) only US$1 of paid up capital. There is no need to appoint resident directors, although a local registered agent will be required. Foreign shareholders are required to go through an approval process with the Belize Central Bank;
    • After business setup, the company is required to file financial statements with the tax authority and is subject to corporate tax at a standard rate of 25%;
    • Best uses for a Belize limited liability company: This entity is a good vehicle to sign contracts and trade with local customers.

    The Belize free zone company (EPZ company)

    • Foreigners can register their 250 companies in the export processing zones of Belize. The benefits of doing so include i) exemption from custom duties ii) up to 20 years of corporate income tax holidays iii) exemption from GST iv) waiver from restrictions on the opening of foreign currency corporate bank accounts;
    • Export processing zone registration is only allowed to export oriented businesses running manufacturing and processing activities. Requirements also include minimum of 60% of the value added of the products to be added locally. See this page for further information on export processing zone registration requirements;
    • Best uses for a Belize free zone company: Belize free zone companies are usually conducting repackaging or light manufacturing activities for products then re-exported in Mexico, the United States, Canada and other American markets.

    The Belize limited partnership (Belize LP)

    • The Belize limited partnership consists of general partners, amongst whom at least one must be resident in Belize, and limited partners, who can all be foreigners. General partners’ approval is required for all business activities of the partnership;
    • Best uses for a Belize limited partnership: while we will assist our Clients to register a Belize LP if required, Healy Consultants recommends to use Belize IBCs or Belize (international) LLCs for most trading and holding activities.

    The Belize branch of a foreign company (branch office)

    • Foreign corporations can register a branch of their company in Belize. The same will require appointment of a resident representative, who can be a foreigner but then must hold a work permit. If needed, Healy Consultants can provide nominee services for professional passive resident representatives;
    • Best use for a Belize branch office: the main advantage of registering a Belize branch compared to a subsidiary is the ability to prepare consolidated accounts. Otherwise, it is usually better to opt for registration of a subsidiary.

    The Belize representative office of a foreign company (liaison office)

    • Similar to a branch office, registration of a representative in Belize will require appointment of a resident representative, who can be a foreigner but then must hold a work permit. If needed, Healy Consultants can provide nominee services for professional passive resident representatives;
    • Best use for a Belize branch office: the main advantage of registering a Belize branch compared to a subsidiary is the ability to prepare consolidated accounts. Otherwise, it is usually better to opt for registration of a subsidiary.
  • Holding global assets with a Belize local entity

    The Belize offshore trust (Belize international trust)

    • Foreigners can register offshore trusts in Belize if all assets, settlors and beneficiaries must all be nonresidents, while one of the trustees must be a licensed trustee services provider in Belize;
    • Best uses for a Belize trust: Belize offshore trusts are attractive for family wealth management and asset protection. They are also commonly used as special purpose vehicles for investment activities in the Americas.

    The Belize international foundation

    • A Belize foundation can be registered by at least one founder who is also required to appoint i) a management council and ii) one registered agent, who needs to be licensed as a trustee services provider with the Belize International Financial Services Commission;
    • The identities of the foundation founders, council members and beneficiaries are not publicly disclosed;
    • Best uses for a Belize: a Belize foundation is a good vehicle for wealth management. Contact us for further advice re the ability to use such entity to legally reduce personal or corporate taxation of a high net worth family.
  • Table of comparison between different entity types

    Operations and logisticsOffshore companyPass through companyLocal LLCFree zone companyLimited partnershipBranch officeRepresentative officeTrustFoundation
    Locally known asIBCInternational LLC250 CompanyEPZ companyLimited partnershipBranchROtrustFoundation
    Doing business in Belize permitted?NoNoYesYesYesYesNoNoNo
    Allowed to sign contracts with local Clients?NoNoYesYesYesYesNoNoNo
    Allowed to invoice local Clients?NoNoYesNoYesYesNoNoNo
    Can rent local office premises?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYes
    Allowed to import raw materials?NoNoYesYesYesYesNoNoNo
    Allowed to export goods?NoNoYesYesYesYesNoNoNo
    Accounting and tax
    Corporate tax rate?0%0%25%0%0%25%0%0%0%
    Corporate bank account?HSBC UKHSBC UKCaye BankBelize BankAtlantic BankBelize BankAtlantic BankUBSCIMB
    Statutory audit required?NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
    Annual tax return to be submitted?NoNoYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
    Access to DTAAs?NoNoYesYesNoYesNoNoNo
    Company law
    Issued capital required?US$1US$1US$1US$50,000US$2US$0US$0US$1US$1
    Resident director required?NoNoNoNoYesYesYesNoYes
    Local shareholder required?NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
    Minimum number of directors?111111111
    Minimum number of shareholders?11112Parent companyParent company11
    Individual shareholders allowed?YesYesYesYesYesNoNoYesYes
    Corporate director(s) allowedYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
    Corporate shareholders allowed?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
    Public register of shareholders and directorsNoNoYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
    Immigration
    Can the entity hire expatriate staff?NoNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
    How long to get work permit approved?3 months3 months3 months3 months3 months3 months3 months3 months3 months
    Fees and timelines
    How long to set the entity up?1 week1 week4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
    How long to open corporate bank account?4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks

Contact us

For additional information on our business setup services in Belize, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Petar Chakarov, directly:
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