Belize is a former British colony that is an independent state now and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is one of the most popular offshore jurisdictions in the world and many international entrepreneurs register companies there. How can a foreigner buy or register a company in Belize?
Amendments to the Belizean legislation
Belize is a typical example of an offshore zone: the tax rates on profits, inheritance, dividends, and interests are 0%. However, the wave of de-offshorization and the fight for maximum business transparency have had an impact on this jurisdiction too. In March 2019, some amendments to the Belizean legislation were made.
In accordance with the new rules, International Business Companies (IBC) in Belize engaged in certain types of activities shall comply with the economic substance requirements. The company shall be controlled from the territory of Belize – directly by the owners or via a management company. The Board of Directors meetings shall be held in Belize. Minimum two Belizean residents have to be on the Board of Directors. Hired personnel have to have relevant qualifications.
Types of business activities that require economic substance in Belize:
- Fund management;
- Marine shipment;
- Leasing and financial activities;
- Intellectual property management;
- Holding companies.
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The economic substance requirements do not apply to companies engaged in other types of business activities thus far. If a company was registered before October 16, 2017 and if its activities require obtaining an IFSC license, the company is exempted from taxes until June 30, 2021. Companies that were registered in Belize after the said date shall establish physical presence in the country and submit proof of the payment of taxes in another jurisdiction.
Taxation in Belize
Before buying or registering a company in Belize, you have to acquaint yourself with the amended tax legislation. In accordance with the Income and Business Tax Act (Amendment) 2018, resident IBCs shall pay the income tax at the rate of 3% if the net annual income is less than 1.5 million US dollars. If the net income is higher, then the rate drops to 1.75%.
The tax rates vary depending on the types of company business activities. Only the incomes made within geographical borders of Belize are taxable. Incomes obtained abroad are not taxable in Belize. The changes in the legislation has not affected the dividend and interest tax regulations.
How a non-resident of Belize can register a company in the country
Forming an IBC in Belize has to be done in stages. First, you have to choose the company name and decide on the type of business activities that your company is going to be engaged in. Besides, you have to decide what form of ownership the company is going to have. Most often, foreigners register IBCs in Belize. The names of such companies have to have Ltd, Limited, Inc., Incorporated, Corp., Corporation, Societe Anonyme or Sosiedad Anonima at the end.
The second stage is collecting the documents and submitting the application to the registrar. We recommend that you apply for professional assistance in these matters. In addition, you will have to have a registered legal address in Belize. The minimum required number of company directors and shareholders is one (a physical person or a legal entity can play both roles). The standard amount of the company charter capital is US$ 50,000. The company registration timeframe is between two and fourteen days in Belize.
How you can buy a ready-made company in Belize
You can save time on collecting the application documents if you buy a ready-made company in Belize. The most important thing to do here is make sure that the company has a clean past (if you are buying a company with a history). If you are buying a shelf company (one that has been recently registered with the sole purpose of selling it), the chances that the company may have debts, or that it has been involved in some illegal activities, or that some heirs may appear out of the blue, etc. are inexistent. The buyer of the Belizean-registered company will have the corporate documents within 24 hours after making the payment. Usually, international entrepreneurs who have onshore companies buy ready-made Belizean companies in order to lessen their tax burdens that can be quite heavy in some jurisdictions.
Advantages of a Belizean offshore company
It is worth buying or registering a company in Belize to save on taxes in the first place. Non-resident companies are tax-exempt in the country. There is no currency control in Belize either. The company beneficiaries’ names remain confidential as the company register is closed to the public. Besides, nominee services are available in Belize.
Belize is an economically and politically stable country with a highly reliable banking sector. Non-resident companies are welcome to open accounts in local banks.
However, a Belizean-registered company has to keep the books and preserve all the financial records for five years. The accounting records can be kept in the company office or with a registered agent. The company owner decides where the records should be kept.
Please apply for our professional services if you would like to buy or register a company in Belize. In this way, you can obtain a powerful business instrument within a very short timeframe. Start saving on taxes and protecting your assets now!
What types of company ownership are available in Belize?
A foreign national can register an LLC or an IBC in Belize. An LLC does not allow issuing shares while an IBC does. The latter option is more popular with foreign entrepreneurs.
Why should I buy a ready-made company in Belize?
This is a very good opportunity if you want to make an urgent profitable deal, for example. Buying a company in Belize will not take more than 24 hours. When you have the corporate documents, you can use the company in the way you like.
Can I use nominee service in Belize?
The company register in Belize is closed to the public. This means that third parties can obtain information about the company beneficiaries only on a court decision. However, if the company owner wants to enhance the level of his/ her personal information confidentiality, he/ she can hire nominee directors and shareholders in Belize. Their services are perfectly legal in the country.