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Belize offshore guide

Belize has become one of the most prominent locations for companies and wealthy individuals who are seeking a premier offshore tax haven. The country offers numerous financial advantages for entrepreneurs, corporations, and private investors alike. With favorable banking laws, very accommodating international financial treaties, desirable tax rates, and our assistance, your new business will flourish in Belize. For those in need of offshore tax relief, Belize has become the foremost alternative.

Belize, formerly a British Colony, is the only country in Central America with English as its official language. Nestled in the Yucatan peninsula, Belize is merely 200 miles south of beautiful Cancun in Mexico, and less than 100 miles east of the famous Tikal Ruins of Guatemala. Belize is an independent country that has enjoyed a history of peace and tranquility, unlike the other countries of the region. Located on the Caribbean seaboard of Central America Belize has an area of approximately 9,000 square miles; 174 miles at its longest point by 68 miles at its widest point. The total population is estimated at just over 275,000 with the major commercial center being Belize City with a population of 90,000. Much of the population of Belize is ethnically diverse including descendants of the original Mayan culture and various mixtures of Mestizo, Americans, Europeans, Chinese, Middle Eastern and East Indians. Belize is an easy 2 hours flight from major American cities such as Miami, Houston and New Orleans, and offers several flights daily to and from Miami, Houston and New Orleans via American, Continental or TACA Airlines. In addition, there are regular flights from Honduras, Mexico and El Salvador. The climate is sub-tropical with an average temperature of 80F.

GOVERNMENT

Belize has a long history of peace, stability and democracy. It became a British Crown Colony in 1862 and achieved its independence in 1981. Belize is a member of the British Commonwealth, the United Nations and the Non Aligned-Movement.

The political system is based on the British Westminster model with Queen Elizabeth II being represented by a Belizean Governor General. Executive authority is exercised by the cabinet under the leadership of the Prime Minister, the Head of State and is subject to approval by a 29-member House of Representatives elected by universal adult suffrage every five years, in addition there is an 8-member Senate with the majority appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

There are two main political parties, and in the most recent election in August 2003. the government remained the People’s United Party after five years of rule prior in 1998 elections. Both parties are committed to the economic development of the country.

LEGAL SYSTEMS

Belize Supreme CourtThe law of Belize is derived from English Common Law supplemented by local legislation. The court system is also similar to that in England and contract and commercial law is based on the English law model. Belize is not a signatory to any agreement with other sovereign nations that would interfere with the confidentiality and the security of the Offshore Business environment.

CURRENCY AND BANKING

The local currency is the Belize dollar which is tied to the US dollar with fixed exchange rate of BZ$2.00 = US$1 .00. This exchange rate has existed since May 1976.

Belize presently has one Offshore Bank, namely, Provident Bank and Trust of Belize. Additionally there are five commercial banks, The Belize Bank Ltd., First Caribbean International Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, The Alliance Bank, and Atlantic Bank Ltd. The commercial banks are regulated by the Central Bank in accordance with the provisions of a Banking Act.

COMMUNICATIONS

The Phillip S.W. Goldson International Airport near Belize City provides daily services through five international carriers to the United States and Central America.

Telephone, telex and telefax communications to and from Belize are excellent and direct telephone dialing facilities are available in addition to internet and email services. A satellite earth station at the capital Belmopan provides high quality telecommunication service throughout the world. International courier services for express delivery are well established.

LANGUAGE

English is the official and spoken language but with many also speaking Spanish. Belize has a literacy factor of over 90%.

BELIZE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS COMPANY (IBC)

Belize is a very reputable offshore jurisdiction, that has gained momentum in recent years for its inexpensive and quick, yet effective and protective, offshore IBCs. Belize is a Central American country, with a robust offshore environment, with English being its official language. Belize is very well accustomed to setting up offshore companies and trusts, and you are in good hands to start a business in Belize. The banks in Belize are very willing to offer merchant account solutions, meaning you can charge your customers credit cards.

FAST: Belize has a very quick incorporation process. Your offshore IBC can be set up in a matter of hours.

NO TAX: Under the Article 130 of the Belize IBC Act, Belize IBCs pay NO TAX in Belize, with only a few simple pre-conditions, including that no business is conducted IN Belize by the IBC.

NO REPORTING: Belize IBCs are free from any reporting requirements.

LEGAL: A Belize IBC is for all legal purposes a separate legal person, and possesses the same commercial rights and powers as a natural person.

SAFE: Belize has an outstanding record of peace, democracy and stability. The country has not been involved into any conflicts or civil disturbances.

PRIVACY: Belize does not disclose its banking or fiscal information under any information-exchange agreements to any foreign parties on grounds of suspected tax evasion. Client confidentiality is robustly enshrined in the Belizean corporate and business legislation.

SECURE: In terms of potential risk of information disclosure to foreign governments (including the U.S.), Belize is arguably the most secure and confidential offshore jurisdiction.

CONVENIENCE: Belize is the only country in Central and South America having English as the official language.

LLC: Belize LLCs were recently passed into law. LLCs are similar to IBCs, except they have membership interest, rather than shareholder stock.

Some Benefits Afforded To Those Who Set Up Belize IBCs

 Complete anonymity and privacy for your Belize IBC.
 Outside of U.S. court jurisdiction.
 Perfect for protecting liquid assets, such as investment portfolios or cash.
 Ideal for business owners who want to operate offshore businesses.
 Ideal solution for protection of high risk assets.
 Perfect for merchant accounts and credit card processing.
 Perfect for someone wanting to purchase investments not available to US citizens.
 One year of service of a registered agent and registered office.
 Preparation, filing and execution of the ‘Memorandum of Association’ with the Registrar of Companies in Belize.
 An operating agreement prepared by asset protection legal representatives..

THE SETUP PROCESS

Application form is submitted with the IBC preferred name.
Corporation documents may be in any language. The company name shall include the word(s): Limited, Corporation, Incorporated, an equivalent, or an abbreviation thereof. Additionally, details of the beneficial directors and shareholders must be included such as nationality, country of residence, address, and profession. Other details, such as a professional recommendation or reference are also required.

Due Diligence Documents

The following must be prepared for each and every beneficial director and shareholder:

 Scanned and notarized copy of the passport or country issued ID card, notarized or certified by a lawyer, notary public, or banker.
 An original proof of residence showing the name and address of the individual is required. Can be a utility bill, telephone bill, or credit card bill, which is dated within the last three months.
 An original letter of introduction is required. This letter can be from a bank, lawyer, accountant or similar profession.

FAQs

Is registration of the IBC private?
Yes, there is no way that another person or government can search for your entity.

Is there any tax on Belize IBCs?
No. Belize IBCs are exempt from any taxes.

What if there is a nominee director, can they go to the bank and say “I’m an owner of this company?”
For a number of reasons, the answer is no. The director is not an owner of the IBC…the shareholders own the IBC. A nominee director does not need to be given any power, and will not be granted any power unless specifically authorized by the shareholders.
All the signatures of the shareholders are needed to open a bank account.
No funds can be added or taken out without the consent of all shareholders, or in other words, the signatory on the account.
Unless you are a signatory on the account (which the nominee director can not do) then you cannot access the account, and the bank will not even talk to you.
In essence, you need the signature of all of the shareholders to alter the account, or to create the power for one person to alter the account.

Can my funds be frozen or seized by my government?
No. Belize company law has specific provisions to ignore any proceeding in any court outside of Belize.

Are there any exchange controls in Belize?
No. Funds move freely in and out.

 

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