Belize ceased to be a tax free jurisdiction

Belize ceased to be a tax free jurisdiction

The Government of Belize is instituting unprecedented reforms regarding the functioning and taxation of offshore companies registered in the country. The government adopted new amendments to the current legislation. Belize ceased to be a tax free jurisdiction and, from our point of view, will not be able to compete with such jurisdictions as Delaware (USA) or the United Kingdom.

At the moment, it is either extremely difficult or impossible to open a bank account for an offshore company registered in Belize. Recently, two major international banks were closed in Belize Choice Bank and Atlantic International Bank, leaving the country with just three international banks Heritage International Bank, Caye International Bank and Belize Bank International.

The main change, which in our opinion will kill the entire industry, is that companies must now maintain a physical presence in Belize. Companies will be required to rent offices in Belize, and the size of these offices must match the scale of the businesses. In other words, if a company declares that it is a large investment company, its office must be huge, not a very small office.

Active construction of apartment buildings is currently ongoing in Belize City. It is evident that the locals are preparing for an influx of international tenants. From our point of view, these expectations are baseless fantasies. After the adoption of the amendments, companies will have to keep full-time employees in Belize. The number and qualifications of such personnel must match the real scale of the business. Therefore, if company is engaged in international transportation of goods, the number of employed workers in Belize should be adequate—not just one nor two people, but many more.

All decisions regarding the company’s activities must be made from within Belize, and all board meetings must be held in Belize. In addition, at least two directors must reside in Belize, and corporate documents, accounting records and other documents related to the company’s activities must be kept in Belize. A company must incur costs in Belize that are comparable to the scale of its operations. Therefore, if a company declares on its website that it is a large investment firm with a turnover of several million dollars a month, expenses in Belize could be as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.

Belize has also imposed a 3% income tax on offshore companies with a taxable base of US $1,500,000, as well as a 1.75% income tax on offshore companies with a taxable base exceeding US $1,500,000. Offshore companies must maintain accounting records, and in the event that annual turnover exceeds US $6,000,000, an audit must be conducted.

As the above illustrates, there is no reason to expect that these changes will increase interest in Belize. Instead, it will be extremely expensive and inconvenient to have a company here. Taking the above said into account, we do not accept new orders for Belize IBCs. Please navigate to our US or UK section to incorporate in the State of Delaware or London (UK). Delaware is a safe, highly reputable, convenient offshore jurisdiction in the United States. The annual tax for LLCs does not exceed US $300.00.

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