DOING BUSINESS IN BELIZE IN 2023
Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC has assisted our Clients with business registration in Belize. Our services include i) Belize business registration (offshore and onshore), ii) government license registration, iii) international or Belize corporate bank account opening, iv) employee recruitment, v) employee visa strategies and vi) office rental solutions.
|Compare different Belize entities||International business companies||Free zone company||250 company||International foundation||Trust|
|Also known as||IBC||Export processing company||Local company||Private foundation||Asset protection|
|Best use of company?||Trading with global customers||Manufacturing and export||Trading with local customers||Asset protection or succession planning||Asset protection|
|How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts?||2 weeks||2 months||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks|
|How soon can you hire staff?||2 weeks||2 months||4 weeks||4 weeks||Cannot hire|
|How soon can you sign a lease agreement?||1 week||1 week||1 week||1 week||1 week|
|How long to supply corporate bank account numbers?||2 months||2 months||2 months||2 months||2 months|
|How long to supply company registration / tax numbers?||2 weeks||2 months||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks|
|Corporate tax rate on annual net profits?||0.75% - 25%||0%||25%||0%||0%|
|Limited liability entity?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Government grants and tax incentives available?||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Government approval required for foreign owners?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Resident director/partner/manager/ legal representative required?||No, if not licensed under IFSC||No||No||No||Yes|
|Minimum paid up share capital?||US$1||US$1||US$1||US$1||None|
|Can bid for Government contracts?||Yes, if operating domestically||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Corporate bank account location?||Atlantic Bank||Alliance Bank||Belize Bank||First Caribbean Bank||Scotiabank|
|Can secure trade finance?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|VAT payable on sales to local customers?||12.5%||0%||12.5%||0%||Cannot trade|
|Average total business set up engagement costs?||US$7,300||US$11,300||US$10,350||US$11,500||US$13,300|
|Average total engagement period?||2 months||2 months||2 months||2 months||2 months|
Belize business setup summary
Press the link headings below to read detailed, relevant, up to date information for Belize business setup.
Benefits of Belize company registration
- Foreign businessmen often choose Belize to register their offshore company because:
- International business companies (IBCs) registered in Belize are free from local corporate income tax on their foreign-sourced income;
- There are no capital gains tax in the country nor withholding taxes on dividend distributions or interest payments by IBCs;
- Only one director and one shareholder of any nationality is enough to begin operations, and minimal capital required is just US$1;
- Companies with an authorised capital of up to US$50,000 need to pay Government company renewal fees of only US$100 per year;
- The documents necessary for IBC registration can be supplied in English, minimizing translation costs;
- The local Income Tax Department does not require financial statements to be filed along with the annual return.
- Belize offers attractive investment promotion incentives, including:
- Fiscal Incentive Program removing all customs duties for foreign investors. Both SMEs and Belize incorporated companies are eligible for this program;
- There are no restrictions on foreigners owning real estate in Belize;
- 20 years tax holiday and multiple operational incentives under the Export Processing Zone program.
- Belize is a great place for a US investor to buy real estate and retire because:
- There are two major retiree programs (QRP and DRI) offering: i) exemption on personal taxation, ii) exemption on import duties for motor vehicle for 5 years and iii) dependent residence permit programs for close kin;
- Real estate prices are one of the most affordable in the Caribbean and Central American regions;
- The country is easily accessible from the USA. Important US travel hubs, such as Miami are just 2 hours away via plane;
- English is native to the country and the primary business language.
- An International Business Corporation (IBC) in Belize is given ample security & confidentiality for its operation:
- The disclosure of the details of the beneficial owners is not required;
- No external authority is entitled to inspect the share register of a Belize IBC. In fact, it can be limited only to the shareholder of the company;
- The assets are protected from confiscation or expropriation orders or similar actions by any foreign government.
- Belize is an excellent jurisdiction for manufacturing, processing and assembling companies due to the presence of 3 Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and 2 Commercial Free Zones (CFZs) in the country that provide a range of lucrative incentives to these companies, such as:
- Exemption from payment of i) capital gains tax; ii) excise duty; iii) property tax and iv) customs duty on imports and exports;
- Banking, insurance and financial service companies can also be incorporated in the CFZs of Belize and can avail complete exemption from paying i) income tax, capital gain tax and corporate tax for 10 years and ii) tax on dividends for the first 25 years of their operation, just like other companies in the CFZs;
- No levying of additional government charges upon usage of foreign currency or transfer of foreign exchange within or out of an EPZ or CFZ.
- Foreign businessmen often choose Belize to register their offshore company because:
Problems with Belize company registration
- The country’s market is very small with just above 350,000 people, offering little potential for growth for local-targeted business;
- Belize is commonly perceived as a tax haven, with lax enforcement of anti-money laundering/countering financing of terrorism regulation. Registering an offshore company in this jurisdiction will inevitably attract additional scrutiny from the tax authorities of the country of residency of our Clients;
- Using a Belize offshore company to evade tax and other illegal activities can send you to jail. It is important that our Clients are aware of their personal and corporate tax obligations in their country of residence and domicile and they will fulfil those obligations annually. Let us know if you need Healy Consultants’ help to clarify your annual reporting obligations.
- Belize IBCs are prohibited from trading with the locals of Belize both at an individual and at a corporation level. This is because the Belize IBCs are viewed as investment vehicles for foreign entrepreneurs, therefore, the Belize government aims to protect its economy through this regulation.
- The cost of doing business in Belize is relatively higher than its neighbouring South American countries. This is significantly due to i) expensive utilities; ii) insufficient regulatory infrastructure and iii) high costs for high speed internet facilities in the country;
- Effective October 2019, locally-incorporated Belize entities, foreign entities registered in Belize and limited partnerships engaging in i) holding company activities ii) banking business iii) distribution and service centre business iv) finance and leasing v) fund management vi) headquarters business vii) insurance viii) intellectual property holding and ix) shipping are required to employ local staff and lease a physical office.
- Companies that wish to obtain a tax exemption certificate and non-resident status need to prove economic substance and tax residency where they actually conduct business.
- IBCs doing business within Belize are now subject to both Belize income tax and stamp duty, and are required to file an income tax return.
- International Financial Services-licensed companies and certain other businesses must be physically present and tax resident in Belize.
- Belize companies need to file an annual tax return if income is sourced in Belize, even if they have no physical presence in Belize.
- The Commissioner of Income Tax may require an audit of annual financial statements if these equal at least US$6 million for both companies with or without physical presence.
Best uses for a Belize company
- A Belize IBC is a tax-efficient vehicle to conduct global business or operate as a holding company;
- Investors interested to relocate and retire in the Caribbean Region and purchase real estate will find Belize as suitable destination.
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Useful links for BelizeGovernment and public authority websites:
- Belize Tax Authority
- Company Registrar
- Central Bank of Belize
- Investment Authority
- Chamber of Commerce
- Belize airport
- Visiting Belize
- Doing business in Belize 2014
- Economic Impact 2014 – Belize (Travel & Tourism)
- Business Tax Guide
- Belize Companies Act – Companies Registry
- Account Opening Checklist – SCB
- Belize Business Visa Application Form – Belize High Commission
- 10 Reasons To Live in Belize – International Living