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Offshore Corporation in Belize: 10 Key Facts You Should Know

Belize is a prominent hub for international business companies (IBCs) and limited liability companies (LLCs), garnering recognition for their captivating potential in the realm of offshore business ventures. With Nevis as its counterpart, Belize offers you to establish offshore corporations. The latter are effective tools to manage international operations and safeguard valuable assets.

Belize-incorporated companies attract entities of diverse sizes. They range from large corporations to medium-sized enterprises and individual entrepreneurs, all finding value in the benefits that these entities provide. By tailoring a company to align with your specific objectives, you will maximize its advantages and capitalize on the opportunities.

Offshore Corporation in Belize

What are the notable strengths inherent in Belizean companies? What essential information should you learn before you reach out to International Wealth and embark on the journey of establishing your own company in Belize?

1. IBC and LLC in Belize: what are they?

Let’s delve into the core definitions first. Belize introduced the International Business Companies (IBC) Act in 1990. The above Act attracted immediate attention for its well-crafted provisions and business-centric approach. With subsequent amendments in 2000, Belize’s legislation governing international companies has gained widespread acclaim as one of the most user-friendly and easily comprehensible frameworks in its domain.

On the other hand, the Limited Liability Companies (LLC) Act was enacted in 2012, marking a relatively recent development. Blending characteristics of both partnerships and corporations, Belizean LLCs stand out as hybrid entities. Much like Nevis LLCs, Belizean LLCs are extensively used across diverse domains. The purposes they serve are asset holding, trade operations, business ventures, Internet services, and asset protection.

Confidentiality protection is paramount and shouldn’t be underestimated. Ownership and directorship information is shielded in Belize to ensure privacy. Likewise, strict measures are in place to safeguard business operations from being disclosed to third parties with no substantial justification.

2. Does an offshore corporation in Belize need a registered office?

Even though it operates as an offshore entity, a corporation in Belize shall no doubt adhere to specific requirements. One crucial aspect is the obligation to maintain a registered office in Belize that serves as a legal address. Typically, your registration agent will assist you in procuring a suitable office space. Mind that having a registered agent is an obligatory prerequisite for establishing a company in Belize.

No doubt, the International Wealth team will fully support you in navigating the procedure.

Don’t be overly concerned about your constant physical presence in the office. While it is necessary to have a registered office, you are not required to be physically present on-site at all times. 

Belize offers a conducive business environment. However, we realize only too well that relocating to the country is not an option for everyone. FYI: No restrictions are in place that would prevent you from using a rented mailing address and phone number to establish presence in Belize.

3. What are the restrictions for IBCs and LLCs in Belize?

The prerequisites of having a registered agent and a registered office are not the only ones in place. You should also consider certain specific limitations:

  • In Belize, it is prohibited to use the names of existing companies.
  • Certain activities, such as banking, insurance, and others, require you to obtain appropriate licenses.
  • LLC names shall include the terms LLC or Limited Liability Company.
  • IBC names shall include specific words like Limited, Corporation, Incorporated, Societe Anonyme, Sociedad Anonima, Aktiengesellschaft, or their corresponding abbreviations: Ltd., Corp., Inc., S.A., A.S., or A.G.
  • Certain restrictions are imposed on property ownership. They usually pertain to obtaining multiple permits and approvals. Typically, this is limited to leasing property rather than outright ownership.
  • Both company types are prohibited from conducting business in the local Belize market. They are also not allowed to engage in transactions with Belize-incorporated companies. NB: This restriction does not apply to foreign-owned entities with no affiliations with Belize.

4. Belize taxes: how much will you pay?

In Belize, an offshore corporation offers the benefit of complete exemption from corporate taxes. Besides, no taxes are imposed on income, capital gains, dividends, or capital transfers.

To maintain an active status in the company registry, the sole requirement for a Belize offshore corporation is to pay an annual registration fee. Currently, the fee for LLC and IBC renewal amounts to USD 1,100 per year.

For added convenience in managing your business, you have the option to open a personal bank account together with a corporate one in Belize.

5. Is it mandatory for an offshore corporation in Belize to keep financial records?

Although you are not required to submit reports to local tax authorities, it is still recommended to keep financial records for an offshore corporation in Belize. It is due to 2 important factors:

  1. Financial records are a valuable tool for monitoring the progress and performance of your business. By keeping accurate records of your financial activities, you gain insights into the financial health of your company and identify areas that require attention or improvement. This allows you to make informed decisions and take timely actions to steer your business in the right direction.
  2. It is crucial to demonstrate that your funds are of legal origin, especially when faced with inquiries from local tax authorities or international regulatory bodies. In an increasingly stringent global financial landscape, the burden of proof lies on individuals and entities to establish the legitimacy of their funds. With comprehensive financial records in place, you can easily provide the necessary documentation to validate the source of your funds or ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

The second point is of utmost importance, as failing to provide satisfactory proof of fund legitimacy may have severe consequences. In jurisdictions like the United Kingdom, the legislation allows for the confiscation of assets valued over a certain threshold if the owner cannot demonstrate the legal origin of the funds used to acquire such assets.

Considering the historical prevalence of offshore entities that own properties and assets acquired when financial reporting was not mandatory, you should be prepared to substantiate the legality of your funds when required. Being proactive in maintaining accurate financial records will ensure compliance and protect both your assets and interests.

6. How many directors and shareholders shall an offshore company in Belize have?

Unlike many jurisdictions that require multiple shareholders or directors, Belize offers flexibility in its IBC regulations. It allows for the formation of a company with just 1 shareholder and 1 director, distinguishing itself from other offshore states.

In Belize, both individuals and legal entities are eligible for the above positions. In this aspect, the jurisdiction differs from Nevis where only a secretary can be a legal entity. Belize even permits the appointment of corporate managers, expanding the options further.

The roles and responsibilities of directors are clearly defined in the Memorandum of Understanding. Therefore, pay careful attention to the above Memorandum during the preparation phase.

There is no set limit on the maximum number of shareholders or directors in Belize, providing greater flexibility for businesses.

7. Does a Belize corporation require a secretary to operate?

In contrast to Nevis, where a secretary is mandatory, Belize has taken a different approach by removing the requirement for a secretary altogether. This strategic move demonstrates Belize’s commitment to streamlining bureaucratic procedures. The country acknowledges the evolving landscape of business, where virtual operations are becoming increasingly prevalent. It also recognizes that unnecessary physical obstacles and burdensome requirements only hinder progress.

Belize understands the importance of creating a business-friendly environment. The jurisdiction strives to cater to the needs of its various clients. Losing valuable businesses is not advantageous for Belize. Hence, it aims to create attractive conditions that encourage companies to thrive.

Opting for Belize comes with an additional advantage, i.e., the opportunity to officially appoint a nominee director and other specialists. These professionals ensure the company will function effectively while maintaining the confidentiality of certain personal data. In this situation, it turns into a valuable asset for businesses operating in Belize.

8. What share types will you find in Belize?

Belize offers a wide range of share options to choose from. The most basic classification is between registered shares and bearer shares. FYI: shares in Belize may have various characteristics:

  • shares with or without voting rights
  • shares with or without a nominal value
  • shares with voting rights limited to specific situations
  • redeemable shares or non-redeemable shares
  • special-purpose shares and more.

NB: Bearer shares that do not disclose the owner’s data are prohibited in most countries. While Belize allows bearer shares, they are securely held by the office of the Registered Agent. The latter is obliged to know the true owner. Mind that significant restrictions are in place on the actions associated with bearer shares. Therefore, to keep your mind at peace and achieve long-term benefits, try to explore alternative types of shares.

9. What is the minimum capital requirement to establish an offshore corporation in Belize?

To form an International Business Company (IBC) in Belize, the standard authorized capital shall be USD 50,000. Typically, the share value is USD 1 per share. As a result, you are only required to pay for 1 share, and the payment amounts to USD 1 provided you have set its value at USD 1.

10. How can I start an offshore corporation in Belize?

If you have decided to establish an offshore corporation in Belize, follow these step-by-step guidelines:

  1. Request a consultation with International Wealth experts. For the said purpose, send an email to [email protected].  
  2. Specify the exact service you need, such as the type of company or bank account.
  3. Pay for the service chosen.
  4. Prepare the following information and/or documents:
    • multiple options for the company name
    • copy of your passport and your contact details
    • fill out and submit the company order form (International Wealth pros will guide you through the process)
    • provide proof of your residential address (usually a utility bill in your name, not older than 3 months)
    • if possible, include references from your bank and lawyer.
  5. Double-check that all documents are accurately filled out and translated (at International Wealth, we will conduct a thorough review before the registration).
  6. Send the documents and await the outcome (processing time typically ranges from 2 working days to a few weeks).
  7. Receive the company documents, open a bank account, and proceed to business.

Bank account for an offshore corporation in Belize

You may come across major challenges if you try to set up a corporate bank account in Belize on your own.  The procedure itself is tricky to handle independently as you need to be aware of how to overcome legal hurdles should you encounter them. 

At International Wealth, we strongly advise that you consider who is willing and prepared to open an account for your new company, and when this shall happen. The most convenient approach is to benefit from the Pre-Approval service International Wealth offers. After we submit the required documents to multiple banks, you will receive approvals or rejections and make an informed decision based on the above information.

If at a loss as to where to turn for assistance, do not hesitate to register for a free consultation on bank account opening at [email protected]. International Wealth experts will guide you through the process and provide comprehensive support.

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