Belize is a small country in Central America sitting on the shore of the Caribbean Sea. It has been known in the offshore world for a great number of years for the favorable conditions that it offers to international entrepreneurs. Times have changed now and Belize is unable to provide the same level of company ownership privacy as it used to do before. Similarly, the tax incentives are not so strong any longer. The country has to comply with various international regulations that have affected all offshore jurisdictions without any exceptions. However, there are still some fantastic opportunities that you can find in Belize if you are engaged or would like to engage in international business. In particular, registering a Limited Liability Company in the country can bring you a number of advantages.
The conditions that Belize offers to foreign nationals wishing to set up LLCs there look favorable indeed. We will begin by saying what you do NOT have to do when registering a company in the country. After that, we will speak about the requirements that you have to meet in order to optimize your business operations in Belize. Please follow this link if you would like to learn why you should opt for registering an LLC in Belize rather than an IBC (International Business Company).
First, a single person (a foreign national) is entitled to establish an LLC in Belize. This said, the company can also be established by a group of foreigners. 100% foreign ownership of the company is allowed. Besides, there is no charter capital requirement: you can make it as low as US$ 1. The second important advantage is that your business operations are not taxable in Belize on the condition that you do not do any business in the country. If you use your Belize-based LLC to make an income abroad, no Belizean taxes are due.
Because your company does not have to pay any taxes, you also won’t have to file any annual reports, tax returns, or financial statements of any kind. For the same reason, your company will not have to acquire a Tax Identification Number (TIN). You can have almost any company structure that you fancy. In case several people own the LLC, they can hold annual meetings at any place they want, not necessarily Belize. The Company Charter, the accounting records, and all other company documents do not have to be kept in Belize – you can keep them anywhere you want.
A Belize-based LLC can also serve as a secure instrument of asset protection: the local courts of law may disregard decisions made by law courts in other countries. Besides, the company owners’ personal data are also well protected. All you have to submit to the Registrar in the country is the organization charter. The names of the LLC owners are not publicly disclosed.
In addition to that, you can freely re-domicile your LLC from any other country to Belize. If you want to re-domicile your Belize-registered LLC somewhere else, you are also welcome to do so. Finally, you have the right to hire local professional directors and shareholders for your LLC. Doesn’t this opportunity look attractive? Minimal bureaucracy, no taxes, no reporting, a wide choice of corporate structures, and so on and so forth.
These fantastic conditions do not mean, however, that you would have to do almost nothing to establish an LLC in Belize or that company maintenance would come at no cost at all. First, registering the company takes some time (about 2 weeks) and some money (a few thousand dollars or euros). Before you can apply for company registration, you have to collect the registration document package and fill out several forms. We suggest that you should seek some professional advice on the matter. The good news is that you can register a company in Belize without going to the country. Yes, this task can be performed remotely.
Second, your company is going to be tax exempt in Belize if and only if it is NOT engaged in any business activities in the country. Should you receive any kind of profit from business operations on the territory of Belize or from dealings with a Belizean citizen, you will immediately become a tax resident of the country, which means that you will be taxed (quite heavily, by the way) and several restrictions will apply to your company. Thus, you cannot issue any company shares or any other securities in the name of a Belizean citizen if you want to pay no taxes. You also cannot buy shares of any local companies. Besides, your LLC cannot be the sole owner of a piece of real property in Belize.
Third, your Belize-registered LLC does have to have some economic substance. Today, whatever country you look at, each of them requires that foreign companies registered on its territory should have some tangible assets there. Since recently, it has become highly problematic to have a company that exists only on paper. The economic substance requirements that the Belizean authorities put forward are more relaxed than in most other national states. However, your LLC will have to have an office in Belize and a registered address where mail can be sent. In addition to that, you have to hire a local company representative, or an agent, and pay him/ her a salary (even though it’s going to be rather low). Unlike many other jurisdictions, Belize does not require that the foreign company registered there should have a company secretary.
Finally, the fact that your LLC does not have to pay any taxes in Belize doesn’t mean that you’ll have to pay nothing at all. Every year, you’d have to pay a state duty for company registration extension that compensates for the lack of taxes. Even though company maintenance in Belize involves some costs, the opportunity to register an LLC there is extremely attractive.