Belize is an independent country and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, CARICOM and SICA. The country is located in Central America on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. It is named after the largest and foremost Belize River and was formerly known as British Honduras.
In the past, Belize was a Spanish and British colony and became independent in 1981. Nowadays, the structure of the government of Belize is based on a constitutional monarchy. The British monarch is formally the head of state, represented locally by the Governor-General. The country is ruled by the National Assembly of Belize. As such, Belize remains a very stable democracy and an attractive centre for finance and tourism.
As a former British colony, this offshore financial centre became extremely popular by offering affordable company formation services. In Belize the trust companies provide International Business Companies registration and trust formation services. The banks in Belize offer reputable offshore banking services for companies and trusts in all major currencies. Overall, Belize company formation with a bank account is an attractive option for international businesses.
From a tax perspective, it is understood that Belize is an offshore tax haven. Despite the taxation of local companies, in Belize offshore companies and trusts enjoy a zero-tax rate on profits, capital gains and passive income. Income tax, withholding tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax and business taxes are not applicable to Belize IBCs, LLCs, trusts and foundations.
In 2019, Belize changed its legislation after pressure from the OECD and European countries. Following the amendments, a Belize offshore company is not permitted to hold intellectual property. Another amendment is the obligation for an offshore company to apply for a tax identification number (TIN), establish a financial year and file an annual return. Despite the additional compliance requirements, Belize company formation has become even more attractive because of the possibility of obtaining a TIN. Banks very often require a TIN to open a bank account or on a case-by-case basis from existing account holders.
No value-added tax or Belize company tax is applicable to a Belize company.
The official currency of Belize is the Belize dollar.
There are no currency exchange controls applicable to offshore entities in Belize.
|Currency||Belize Dollar (BZD)
USD is widely used
|Capital gains tax||0%|
|Exchange Controls||Yes (Not effective for offshore vehicles)|
The Belizean legal system is largely based on English common law. This provides flexibility for corporate structuring as the jurisdiction has adopted trust law, recognises trusts, and shareholder agreements can be regulated by English law.
In Belize the offshore formation of a limited company is regulated by the law based on the English Companies Act of 1948 model. Company legislation was also heavily influenced by the old BVI IBC model. The US LLC concept has been further incorporated into the legislation to compete with other offshore centres.
The OECD’s initiative had an extensive impact on company legislation in the recent past. During 2018, the Belizean government implemented all the necessary recommendations to modernise the regulations and ensure that it meets modern standards.
The concept of a trust in Belize was codified by the Trust Act of 1992. For a Belize offshore trust to be regulated by the laws of Belize, it must be established in the trust deed and registered with the FSC. Trust legislation has been modified and designed to protect trust assets from third-party claims. The Fraudulent Conveyance Act has been completely repealed from the legislation applicable to the Belize International Trust. This has made Belize one of the leading jurisdictions for asset protection.
The court of final appeal in Belize is the Caribbean Court of Justice.
The laws that regulate Belize offshore formation and the financial industry include, inter alia, the following:
Belize is one of the most popular offshore financial centres in the world. The number of offshore entities incorporated in this jurisdiction is good evidence of that. The up-to-date legislation coupled with competitive government fees and affordable services of local agents has made Belize offshore company formation an extremely popular service.
In Belize offshore company benefits include a zero-tax environment, closed registers, cost-effective offshore services, and well-developed, up-to-date offshore legislation. Furthermore, this type of company offers a high level of confidentiality. It only takes one or two days to incorporate a company in Belize and complete all formalities, including the application for a TIN.
The fees for Belize company incorporation and renewals are considerably more competitive when compared to jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands or Guernsey. This accounts for Belize’s popularity for incorporating classic asset holding IBCs or even international trade companies. A Belize offshore company with a bank account opened in an offshore bank can carry out trading activities or provide services offshore.
Astra Trust can set up an offshore company in Belize in the shortest possible time and provide full assistance in all matters from name reservation, CDD process and provision of nominee services, to opening a bank account.
The following types of entities are available for Belize offshore incorporation:
Companies incorporated in Belize can be used, inter alia, for the following purposes:
Stage 1 Contact us for more information and quotes. We answer within three hours!
Stage 2 Fill in a form, provide us with the required documents and make a payment.
Stage 3 Receive the scanned incorporation documents within two days, and hard copies by courier up to seven days.
To incorporate Belizean company the following CDD documents are required:
The costs of incorporation include services for the following:
After incorporation in Belize you receive the following documents:
Under the International Business Companies Act for offshore company registration in Belize, the name shall end with the following words:
Alternatively, the abbreviations “Ltd.”, “Corp.” or “Inc.” may be used.
The act also allows the use of foreign names in the last part of the company’s name instead of the abovementioned words. The following words or their abbreviations may be used:
The proposed company name can be checked for availability by Astra Trust within 1-2 working days.
The company name cannot suggest any connection to Her Majesty, the Royal Family, or the Government of Belize. It also cannot be a name that is prohibited by the laws and regulations in Belize.
A company incorporated in Belize must have at least one director and one shareholder. There are no restrictions on the residency or nationality of the directors and shareholders. Corporate directors and shareholders may be appointed.
There is no requirement as to where the board meetings of a Belizean company should take place.
Nominee services are allowed and are widely used for offshore company registration in Belize. Astra Trust can provide nominee services upon incorporation.
The companies that can be incorporated in Belize, depending on the share capital, can be as follows:
The standard authorised share capital of the company limited by shares is usually USD 50,000 or in another currency, with a denomination of USD 1 per share.
The issued share capital to shareholders can be of any amount, starting from 1 share and up to all 50,000 shares.
The authorised share capital can be both par value and no par value.
A Belize IBC company may issue different classes of shares.
Bearer shares are prohibited from being issued in Belize.
Belize is considered a highly confidential jurisdiction.
Information on registers of directors, shareholders and beneficial owners is not available to the public.
Corporate registers are kept at the company’s registered office and maintained by the registered agent. The International Financial Services Commission of Belize may inspect the company’s corporate registers.
Information about the company may only be disclosed to the authorities of other countries and only upon official legal request from such authorities.
The privacy of a Belizean company can be further enhanced by using nominee services. If you want more information on how to open a company in Belize with nominee services, please do not hesitate to contact Astra Trust for a free initial consultation.
A company in Belize is subject to economic substance requirements.
Under the Economic Substance Act, Section 8 of 2019, Belizean IBCs fall under two categories: included and non-included entities.
Included entities are those that carry out relevant activities, which the act defines as the following types of activities:
All Belize companies that are not engaged in any of the abovementioned activities are non-included entities and do not fall under the scope of the economic substance requirements.
For Pure Equity Holding Companies (PEHCs) that only hold equity participations and only earn dividends and capital gains, only the minimum requirements apply, and generally, there will be no need to demonstrate sophisticated economic substance in Belize.
According to the latest legislative changes, every IBC in Belize shall:
Astra Trust can assist you in complying with all statutory requirements following your Belize company registration.
Business Activity Restrictions
Requirements to Directors
Requirements to Secretary
Requirements to Shareholders