Belize is an island state in Central America located near the foot of Yucatan Peninsula. It used to be a British colony until 1981 when it gained independence from the Crown. The main pillars of the Belizean economy are tourism and agriculture. A considerable portion of revenues also comes from the banking and offshore industry. Registering a company in Belize can be a good solution for those wishing to work in the American market, plan their taxes, and protect their assets.
Advantages if registering a company in Belize
Belize is a ‘classic’ offshore jurisdiction offering all the benefits that this status brings:
- The rate of the taxes on profit, dividends, added value, interests, and royalties equals 0%.
- There are no restrictions on company owners and directors’ residency.
- There are no financial nor fiscal reporting requirements.
- The register of company beneficiaries is closed to third parties.
- There is no currency control in Belize.
- Audit is not required.
- The legal system is based on the English law.
- Belize is on the ‘white list’ of offshore jurisdictions. It is not among FATF and OECD sanctioned countries.
A company in Belize can be registered remotely and you do not have to travel to this faraway country. The costs of company registration and maintenance in Belize are quite affordable. The registration timeframe is five to fourteen days.
The jurisdiction will suit commercial companies, financial management companies, those dealing in intellectual property ownership, factoring, leasing activities, and so on.
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Disadvantages of registering a company in Belize
Belize is an offshore jurisdiction with all the disadvantages that this status brings. First, it affects the image of the company that is registered in the country. Second, opening a corporate bank account for a Belizean-registered company is not an easy task. Many banks will be reluctant to provide services to a company registered in this jurisdiction.
To keep your Belizean company exempted from taxes you have to comply with the following rules:
- You should not do business with residents of the country.
- You should not make profits on the territory of Belize.
- You should have a registered legal address (an office) in the country.
If you would like to engage into banking or insurance business, you have to acquire a license in Belize and this is a difficult task to perform indeed.
The living standards in the country are not very high. At the same time, Belize is a member of the Organization of American States, the UN, and the Commonwealth of Nations, which certainly enhances its credibility.
Until January 2020, non-resident companies in Belize were not allowed to own real property there. Now this restriction has been lifted. However, International Business Companies (IBCs) that hold International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) licenses shall demonstrate having economic substance in the country. This rule applies to insurance, banking, leasing, shipment, holding, distribution, and other types of companies registered in Belize. There are some types of business activities, however, that do not require having substance in the country
IBCs founded before October 17, 2017 do not have the right to own intellectual property. Of they want to obtain this right, they have to apply for a temporary permit to IFSC. The temporary permit will be valid until June 30, 2021.
If you structure your business wisely and if you follow the rules, you can benefit from having a company registered in Belize and avoid the possible pitfalls.
The five steps you need to take to register a company in Belize
1. Choose the company type
The most popular types of offshore companies that are registered in Belize are the following ones:
- IBC (International Business Company).
Besides, there are two free trade zones in Belize where companies can be registered. One of them has warehouses and office buildings and it will suit industrial companies as well as banking, finance management, and insurance companies. The other will fit processing and assembly enterprises.
If your purpose of establishing a company in Belize is tax planning and international business, you will be well advised to opt for an IBC.
2. Choose the business areas
All legal types of business activities are permitted in Belize. You will have to obtain a license if you want to engage into banking, insurance, or reinsurance activities.
3. Register a legal address
After you have defined the company structure and the spheres of your prospective business activities, you have to find an office in Belize and register your company legal address. You have to file an application to the Land Office in order to register the legal address. Even though your official company address is going to be in Belize, your operational offices can be located anywhere in the world.
4. Invent and register the company name
Not any company name will be acceptable as there are some restrictions to comply with:
- The company name must be unique;
- It cannot contain and insulting or vulgar words;
- It cannot suggest that the company is patronized by the Government of Belize;
- The name cannot contain words such as Royal, Imperial, and some others.
If your company is to contain words such as bank, municipal, loans, building society, reinsurance, Chamber of Commerce, then you will have to acquire a corresponding license.
5. Submit the document package for company registration
You will have to prepare Memorandum and Articles of Association, company By-laws, as well as personal documents for company founders such as passport copies. The papers are to be submitted to the Company Register and a registration fee is due. Only a couple of days will have to pass and then you can pick up your registration documents.
Open a corporate bank account for your Belizean company
If yours is a functional business company, it has to have a bank account. Opening a corporate bank account for a company registered in Belize can be problematic as far from all banks will be prepared to service a company registered in this jurisdiction. Please apply for a free consultation with us and we will help you choose the country where you can set up a bank account for your Belizean company.
If you would like to register a company in Belize, we will be happy to provide assistance in this matter to you. Please contact us using the email address at the top of the page, the WhatsApp number or the live chat.
What are the benefits of registering an offshore company in Belize?
The owner of a Belizean-registered company does not have to pay any taxes unless he or she does business and makes a profit in Belize and/ or owns property in the country. Having a registered legal address in Belize is obligatory though.
How can I register a company in Belize?
You have to define your business priorities, the company ownership structure, prepare all the required application documents, and register a legal address in Belize. After that, you have to submit the document package to the registrar for company registration. The whole procedure should not take more than two weeks.
How much does company maintenance cost in Belize?
You have to pay the company registration extension fee of 600-650€ every year. If you use nominee services, you will have to pay some extra money. Legal address rent is another cost.