Belize, formerly known as British Honduras, is a country located on the northeast coast of Central America. Since independence from Britain in 1981, it has enjoyed a stable and democratic Government. It is the only country in the area where English is the official language, although Kriol and Spanish are more commonly spoken. Belize is bordered to the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. Its mainland is about 290 km long and 110 km wide.
Belize has a small, essentially private enterprise economy that is based primarily on agriculture, agro-based industry, and merchandising, with tourism and construction recently assuming greater importance. The country is a producer of industrial minerals. Sugar, the chief crop, accounts for nearly half of exports, while the banana industry is the country's largest employer.
Although there are fairly high rates of tax for resident persons and companies in Belize, it now offers tax-free IBCs by virtue of the IBC Act 1990. This legislation is modeled on the earlier British Virgin Islands legislation.
A Belize IBC is formed under the Belize International Business Companies Act. This piece of legislation was initially adopted in 1990 and further extended and amended in 2000. Belize IBC Act is considered internationally as one of the most modern and user-friendly offshore corporation legislations available today. A Belize IBC is a perfect corporate vehicle for international financial transactions, being especially designed with the offshore investor in mind. Belize's laws facilitate fast and simple incorporation.
Belize IBC Companies
A Belize company has the following attributes: Incorporation is simple and fast. Incorporation is conducted by filling-in a Memorandum and Articles of Association together with the appropriate fee to the registrar. Language requirements are flexible; Chinese language characters are allowed and both the Chinese and English names must be recorded at the Registry. The Articles of Association can be adapted to the needs of the company and IBC's enjoy tax exemption from all local taxes including stamp duty. Also, IBC's may migrate into and out of Belize depending upon the company's planning needs. Incorporation can be completed within two days although a further five working days is required for the release of documentation from the registry. Shelf companies may be available.
IBC's are not required to file details of shareholders, directors, or accountants or carry out an audit. The only information that is made available to the public is the company's Memorandum and Articles of Association and its Certificate of Incorporation. There is no disclosure of beneficial ownership to the authorities. Belize is not a party to any double taxation treaties, which could obligate the disclosure of information to the tax authorities of other countries.
Movement Of Funds
The local currency is the Belize dollar which is tied to the US dollar at a fixed exchange rate of BZ$2=US$1. There are no exchange controls on IBC's as they are treated as non-residents for exchange control purposes.
Any name of a company that has already been incorporated or that is so similar as to cause confusion, is prohibited. Any name considered to be undesirable, obscene or offensive is also disallowed. Names' suggesting Royal Patronage such as "royal" or "Imperial", or any name suggesting the patronage of the Belize government is also prohibited. A Belize IBC can be incorporated in any language using the Latin alphabet. The Registrar may require an English translation to ensure that the name is not on the list of restricted names. Certain names require special consent or a license. These include Bank, Building Society, Savings, Loans, Insurance, Assurance, Re-Insurance, Fund Management, Investment Fund, Trust, Trustees, Chamber of Commerce, University, Municipal or their foreign language equivalents or any name in English or a foreign language that may suggest an association with the banking or insurance industry in general.
Shareholders of the Company
Subscribers may be individuals or corporate entities and nominee shareholding is permissible through the services of local registered agents. The minimum number of shareholders is one.
Share Capital of the Company
The standard authorized share capital is US$50,000. Shares with or without par value are permitted. Share capital may be expressed in any currency. The minimum issued share capital is one share of no par value or one share of par value. For Bearer shares, we will be required to maintain physical custody of all bearer shares certificates.
Directors of the Company
IBC's must have a minimum of one director who may be natural persons or bodies corporate. Directors can be of any nationality and need not be resident in Belize. A company secretary is not a requirement under the Act, but a secretary is normally appointed to facilitate signing obligations.
Registered Office / Agent
IBC's must have a registered office and a registered agent in Belize. The registered office must be maintained at the address of a licensed management company.
Register of Members
IBC's are not required to file details of shareholders, directors or accounts. A company is however required to keep financial records which reflect the financial position of the company.
Books, Records and Seal
The only information that is made available to the public is the company's Memorandum of Association, Articles of Association and a Certificate of Incorporation.
IBC's enjoy exemption from all local taxation including stamp duty.