Offshore Company Formation – Belize

Belize, a former British colony, is a country in Central America not far from Guatemala and Mexico. Its legislation inherited the principles of English Common Law including the court system, commercial and contract law. English is an official language. Spanish has become wide spread among its citizens since 1840. Many enterprises choose Belize for managing assets and tax planning as it is a stable and reliable jurisdiction. Legal entities are incorporated in the form of an International Business Company (IBC) according to the Belize IBC Act of 1990 as amended.

Basic Information and Calculation of Expenses

All offshore jurisdictions share one common feature: companies should carry out their business outside a corresponding offshore.

How to calculate expenses for the registration and how much is the Government fee?

The registration package ranges from 400 USD to 1600 USD depending on a number of services and necessary documents. For example, some certificates are not obligatory for carrying out business, but it may be required by a bank.

Nominee services are 200 USD per year. The Government fees are 100 USD.

If a client needs to open an account with a reputable bank in Austria, Switzerland or Cyprus it usually costs 300-400 USD.

An Apostille and translation will be 100-300 USD depending on a quantity of the documents required.

The registered office is mandatory, but it does not assume physical presence of a company’s directors or owners. The restrictions on business activities in Belize are minimal: prohibition on owning a real estate and carrying out business with Belize residents. However, an IBC may own a vessel (yacht) registered in Belize. Of course, clients need not visit the country for the purposes of registration, they just sign the IBC application forms, and the subscriber (the registered agent) signs the incorporation documents.

Setup Procedure

The registration itself excluding time for translation, Apostille and delivery by courier takes 1-2 days. The procedure consists of the following steps:

  • Choosing a corporate name. If a client wishes to make the registration process faster there is a possibility to choose a ready-made (shelf) company.
  • Selecting directors and shareholders (the minimum number is one for shareholders and directors, nominee services are available upon request), secretary, paid up share capital (there are no minimum amounts for it), types of shares.
  • Preparation of necessary documents and payment of fees.
  • Incorporation with the registration authority.
  • Notary certification and Apostille if necessary.
  • Delivery of the documents.

Taxation

In accordance with the current legislation IBSs are exempted from paying any taxes including income tax, dividends and even stamp duty. Local taxes are applied only if business activity is carried out in Belize. IBCs need not obtain a tax certificate (Certificate of Clearance). The Government did not entered into any double tax treaties with other countries.

Accounting

IBCs do not submit annual reports or audited financial statements to the tax authorities. In addition to that, they are not obliged to make any fiscal records public. However, it is recommended to prepare these documents for internal review.

Advantages of Belize Offshores

  • English is an official language; corporate documents are in English.
  • Low registration cost and simple maintenance.
  • Low Government fees.
  • Nominee services are available for beneficial owners and directors.
  • Observance of confidentiality: beneficial owners are not revealed to the Government.
  • No yearly financial statements and tax returns are required.
  • Exemption from taxes.
  • Absence of exchange control on business and even banking activities.
  • The paid up share capital may be of any value.