Establishing a company in Belize

Belize is a small country in Central America sharing borders with Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west. It lies along the Caribbean Sea and has long sandy coastlines. Its population is 330,000 citizens. It gained its independence from the British in 1981, and unlike other Central American countries the spoken language is English – a fact that facilitates the establishment of companies there and saves on translation costs.

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Four things you did not know about Belize:

  • The “Great Blue Hole”, 46 miles east of the Belize shores, is an impressive and unique submarine sinkhole of perfectly round contour. Its depth is 125m, the diameter is 300m, and it draws scuba and snorkeling buffs from around the world.
  • Although the state population is only 300,000, it is incredibly diverse, including ethnic groups that are previous African slaves, Maya descendants that have mingled with the European immigrants, pure Maya tribes and many others.
  • The area of Belize is 22,966 km2, only 2,196 km2 larger than the State of Israel.
  • Its geography is characterized by swamp plains in its northern regions, the Maya Mountains in the south, and a huge barrier reef along its Caribbean coastline, already declared an UNESCO world heritage site. The climate is tropical with occasional hurricanes.

Belize’s economy

The economy of Belize is based principally on agriculture and tourism, although its construction sector has also been booming in recent years. Belize enjoys political stability, a government that incentivizes economic development, and encourages the registration of foreign companies.

Foreign companies wishing to set up business in Belize must meet several requirements, and adhere to some restrictions: they may not be active in banking, insurance and other related areas, and may hold only certain assets within the state. They are not permitted to own shares in local companies or real estate. On the other hand, foreign companies registering there enjoy 0% corporate tax, a speedy registration process, all paperwork and documentation in English, complete confidentiality and no requirement to submit financial reports.

Additional information about establishing offshore companies in Belize:

General
Type of company
IBC – International Business Corporation
Relevant Companies Law
Belize International Business Companies Act 1990
Offices
Belize law requires companies to provide a local office address
Language of original incorporation documents
English
Finance and Taxation
Currency
Belize dollar (BZD)
Corporate tax rate
0%
Standard share capital
50,000 USD for par value shares, although no-par value shares may also be issued to increase company share capital to the required limit by paying a separate government fee
Office Holders
Secretary
Obligation to appoint company secretary
Not required – the company may appoint a secretary
Obligation to appoint local secretary
Not required
Type of entity that may function as company secretary
Individual and/or company
Director
Obligation to appoint company director
Required
Obligation to appoint local company director
Not required
Minimum number of directors
Minimum -1, maximum - 10
Type of entity that may serve as company director
Individual and/or company
Shareholders
Obligation to register shareholders
Required
Obligation to register local shareholders
None
Minimum number of shareholders
1
Type of entity that may register as shareholder
Individual and/or company
Type of shares
Registered shares and/or bearer shares
Accessibility of Information
Company registrar
Information regarding office holders is not accessible to the public
Annual Assembly and Reporting
Obligation to hold annual assembly
Not required
Obligation to prepare financial reports
Required
Obligation to submit financial reports
Not required