Belize, country located on the northeast coast of Central America. Belize, which was known as British Honduras until 1973, was the last British colony on the American mainland. Its prolonged path to independence was marked by a unique international campaign (even while it was still a British colony) against the irredentist claims of its neighbor Guatemala. Belize achieved independence on September 21, 1981, but it has retained its historical link with the United Kingdom through membership in the Commonwealth.
Belize is often thought of as a Caribbean country in Central America because it has a history similar to that of English-speaking Caribbean nations. Indeed, Belize’s institutions and official language reflect its history as a British colony. However, its culture is more typical of that of other Central American countries. Belize’s small population is ethnically diverse and includes a large proportion of immigrants. Since the 1970s, migration has shifted Belize’s ethnic composition from a predominantly Creole (mixed African and British descent) population to one in which mestizos (in Belize, people of mixed Mayan and Spanish ancestry) make up half of the total inhabitants. Belize has one of the most stable and democratic political systems in Central America. After its original capital, Belize City, was ravaged by a hurricane in 1961, a new capital, Belmopan, was built inland, about 50 miles (80 km) west of Belize City, which remains the country’s commercial and cultural centre as well as its most populous city.
Belize is a Central American country known for its English-speaking ability, and robust offshore environment.
In December 2018, the National Assembly of Belize passed the International Business Companies (Amendment) Act, 2018, the Income and Business Tax (Amendment) Act, 2018, and the Stamp Duties (Amendment) Act, 2018 to address the considered ‘harmful tax regimes’ identified by the FHTP.
IBCs can now be incorporated by both residents and non-residents, can do business locally and with residents, own land in Belize, and hold shares in Belize domestic companies. Under the Income and Business Tax (Amendment) Act, 2018, IBCs doing business within Belize are now subject to both Belizean income tax and stamp duty and are required to file an income tax return.
International Business Company (IBC) (Company limited by shares)
|Governing corporate legislation|
International Business Companies Act of 1990 (As amended)
International Business Companies may be formed by one or more shareholders, who can be either natural or legal persons and may be non-residents.
An International Business Company must appoint at least 1 director, who may be a natural or legal person and may be non-resident.
|Information published relating to company officers|
Details of shareholders are not available to the public.
Directors’ details are not disclosed in a public record.
The liability of the shareholders for the company is limited to the amount of their respective shareholdings.
|Accounting requirement/ compliance|
BCs can obtain Tax Identification Number (TIN) and may be required to file annual tax returns and financial statements. IBCs with receipts of at least USD 6,000,000 may be required to file audited financial statements.
Companies that wish to obtain a tax exemption certificate and non-resident status may need to prove economic substance and tax residency in another jurisdiction.
|Corporate income tax|
In December 2018, the National Assembly of Belize passed the International Business Companies (Amendment) Act, 2018, the Income and Business Tax (Amendment) Act, 2018, and the Stamp Duties (Amendment) Act, 2018.
Under the Income and Business Tax (Amendment) Act, 2018, IBCs doing business within Belize are now subject to both Belizean income tax and stamp duty and are required to file an income tax return.
Belize IBCs doing business in Belize are subject to 1.75% of the chargeable income amounting to a sum greater than BZD 3 million, or 3% of the chargeable income amounting to a sum lesser than BZD 3 million. Taxes will need to be paid in US Dollars. Belize IBCs whose income is derived outside of Belize shall not be liable for payment of income tax in Belize. Capital gains, dividends, and interests received may be exempt from taxation. Payments to non-residents may be exempt from withholding taxes.
IBCs registered before October 16, 2017, are allowed to grandfather their existing tax exemption benefits up to 30 June 2021 – at that time they will need to comply with all the above requirements.
For IBCs registered from October 17, 2017, to December 31, 2018, the above requirements are immediately applicable to them. A transition period of 1 year has been granted – whereby IBCs must take the appropriate steps to ensure they are compliant.
|Shared capital/paid up|
The amount of the authorized capital can be freely determined at incorporation by the owners of the IBC. At their issue, the shares in an IBC must be paid up. Capital may be expressed in any currency.
|Basis of the Legal System|
Under Common Law.
The company may appoint a secretary, but it is not mandatory. Secretary may be a natural or a legal person, resident or non-resident.
Shares issued may be voting shares, non-voting shares, shares having more or less than one vote per share, shares that may be voted only on certain matters or upon the occurrence of certain events, shares that may be voted only when held by persons who meet specified requirements, no par value shares, common shares, preferred shares, redeemable shares and shares that entitle participation only in certain assets.
A company shall appoint a licensed registered agent and shall have a registered address and office in Belize.
An international business company need not hold AGM, and it can be held anywhere and by electronic means.
|Time to form|
Belize has a fast and efficient registry: company registration takes only 1-2 days.
Anniversary date of the company / Each Year
Convenient world time zone: GMT-6
Belize offers a high level of anonymity and privacy.
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