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Belize


Belize

HISTORY AND POLITICAL STRUCTURE

During the 1840’s, Great Britain declared the country a colony and called it namely British Honduras. Belize proceeded to gain its independence on September 21st, 1981, and since then, has operated as an independent nation under a parliamentary democracy.

Belize is located on the Caribbean coast of northern Central America. It shares a border tp the north with the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, to the west with the Guatemalan department of Petιn, and to the south with the Guatemalan department of Izabal. The area of the country totals 22,960 square kilometers (8,865 sq mi). The abundance of lagoons along the coasts and in the northern interior reduces the actual land area to 21,400 square kilometers (8,263 sq mi). Belize is shaped like a rectangle that extends about 280 kilometers (174 mi) north-south and about 100 kilometers (62 mi) east-west, with a total land boundary length of 516 kilometers (321 mi).

Belize is a democratic constitutional monarchy, and the northernmost Central American nation. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Although Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language. The population of Belize is only 333,200 people. Belize possesses the lowest population density in Central America.

Belize is a parliamentary democracy, a Commonwealth realm, and therefore a member of the Commonwealth of Na-
tions.

The structure of government is based on the British parliamentary system, and the legal system is modeled on the Common Law of England. The current head of state is Elizabeth II, Queen of Belize. Since the Queen primarily resides in the United Kingdom, she is represented in Belize by the Governor-General. However, the cabinet, led by the Prime Minister of Belize, who is head of government, acting as advisors to the Governor-General, in practice exercise executive authority. Cabinet ministers are members of the majority political party in parliament and usually hold elected seats within it concurrent with their cabinet positions.

The bicameral National Assembly of Belize is composed of a House of Representatives and a Senate. The thirty-one members of the House are popularly elected to a maximum five-year term and introduce legislation affecting the development of Belize. The Governor-General appoints the twelve members of the Senate, with a Senate president selected by the members. The Senate is responsible for debating and approving bills passed by the House.
Belize is a full participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Central American Integration System (SICA), The United Nations, and the Organization of American States. It is still in the process of acceding to Caricom and SICA treaties, including trade and single market treaties.

ECONOMY

Belize has a private enterprise economy that is based on agriculture, agro-based industry, and merchandising, with tourism and construction recently assuming greater importance. In 2006, a crude oil field was discovered near the town of Spanish Lookout, which has presented new prospects and problems for this developing nation. 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.

Rapid action has been made by the government to improve tax collection, but a lack of progress in reining in spending could bring the exchange rate under pressure. The tourist and construction sectors strengthened in early 1999, leading to a preliminary estimate of revived growth at 4%. Infrastructure continues to be a major challenge for the economic development of Belize. Trade is very important for the country and the major trading partners are the United States, Mexico, the European Union, and Central America.

WHY CHOOSE BELIZE WHEN STARTING A BUSINESS?

Belize has a gentle climate, tropical beauty and relaxed way of life which are a lure to many, whether retired, close to retirement, or still actively involved in business in order to start a business. Since English is the official language of the country, you can negotiate in English, advertise in English and search the Laws and Records easily.
Advantages of the Jurisdiction of Belize

The following are the advantages of starting a Business in Belize:

  • Belize is a small country and any new business will require less startup capital than it would need anywhere else
  • Advertising campaigns can be targeted on specific groups or target areas.
  • Full exemption from taxation on any business activity or transaction carried on outside Belize.
  • Belizean Law is based on British Common Law
  • Speedy incorporation procedures and simple ongoing administration.
  • Reasonable formation and maintenance costs and fees.
  • Complete business privacy and confidentiality.
  • IBCs may engage in any lawful business in any country and may carry on transactions in whatever currencies they choose.
  • Registered or Bearer shares, at owner’s option.
  • Directors and/or officers can be either corporate entities or natural persons.
  • Shareholders and /or directors may hold their meetings in any country and they may attend such meetings by proxy.
  • There are no exchange controls in Belize. Although the official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar the United States Dollar is commonly used.
  • Well developed professional infrastructure.
  • Neutral tax jurisdiction.
  • The Government has established a new programme allowing for multi-year work permits of up to four years duration and relaxed residency rules.
  • Same day company incorporation service. Belize provides the fastest IBC incorporation in the world, due to the highly efficient computerized registration system, introduced by the Company Registry of Belize.
  • There is no requirement for a regular Annual General Meeting. If necessary, meetings of the board of directors or shareholders may be held by telephone or other means of contact.
  • Placing an order for the formation of a company

The Incorporation of Belize off-shore companies is governed by the International Business Companies Act 1990 which was amended in 2000. The formation of a Belize International Business Company can take place by using an order form which can be provided by the Registry Agent.

You can also buy a ready-made company from the list available. A ready-made company normally has an open configuration (its directors are not yet appointed and the shares are not yet issued). Therefore the final configuration of a shelf company is made at a later stage.

In additions you are not obliged to prepare or file any financial accounts but it is    recommended by practice to prepare or file them in your office.

The Registry Agent will check the name availability of the company (whether there is no company under such name already). In Belize the law requires that all financial service providers know the identity of their client so the actual contact details must be indicated at the Registry Agent.   This information remains confidential.

Requirements for the Registration of an IBC

  • Director: Minimum of one Director. Corporations are permitted.
  • Secretary: A secretary is not required.
  • Shareholder: Minimum of one shareholder. Corporations are permitted.
  • Shareholders and Directors may be the same.
  • Shares & Capital: The standard share capital is USD 50,000.00 divided into 50,000 shares of USD 1, 00 each. Shares can be issued with or without par value. Bearer shares are permitted, but they must be held at the registered office.
  • Name of the Company: Must end with one of the following suffixes: Limited or Ltd, Corporation or Corp, Incorporated or Inc, Societe Anonyme or S.A., Sociedad Anonima or S.A., Besioten Vennootshcap or B.V, Gesellschaft mit Beschrankter Haftung or Gmbh, Naamloze Vennootschap or NV.
  • Company must have a registered office and a registered agent in Belize.

Required Documents to register the company:

  • Notarized Copy of your Passport.
  • Notarized Copy of utility bill for address verification less than 3 months old
  • Application documents.

When all the details are confirmed and the payment for the relevant fees received, the Registry Agent will prepare the Memorandum and the Article of Association of the new International Business Company. These will be filed with the Registry of International Business Companies in Belize. There is no need to sign any statutory info, the initial company formation documents are prepared and signed on your behalf by the Registered Agent always under the procedures set by the Belize International Companies Act. The Registered agent will file the corporate documents of the company, will pay the applicable registration fees and arrange for the documents to be submitted to the Belize Registrar of companies for registration. All the relevant documents will be kept in the Registered Agents office.

Corporate documents of an IBC

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Memorandum And Articles of Association
  • Original Resolution of Director   in Writing
  • Original Resolution of Subscriber in Writing
  • Certificate of Incumbency
  • Original Share Certificate
  • Apsotile Bound Set of:
    • Copy Certificate of Incorporation
    • Copy Memorandum and Articles of Association 
    • Copy Resolution of Director in Writing 
    • Copy Resolution of Subscriber in Writing 
    • Copy Certificate of Incumbency

Extra Documents:

  • Guarantee of Non-trading
  • Declaration of Trust
  • Nominee Directors Declaration
  • Memorandum of Sole Director
  • Affidavit
  • Company Seal
  • Power of Attorney will be given when we act as Nominee

In addition an annual renewal fee must be paid to the Belize government. Starting from the second calendar year after incorporation the fee is due before the 31st July each year. If the fee is not paid then the company will lose its status of good standing and a 10% penalty fee if it is overdue for less than 3 months or 50% penalty for over 3 months. An annual professional fee must also be paid to the Registered Agent which is also on a yearly basis.

Belize’s geographic location, convenient time zone, political and economic stability, common law legal system, educated, competent and accessible professionals, English speaking work force, up-to-date modern electronic communications and tax advantages makes doing business in Belize easy, convenient, affordable and professional.   These attributes of Belize provide the perfect balance, relating to confidence, integrity and reliability in Belize’s dynamic offshore service sector. That is why Belize is often at the top of the list of places to start a new business.

 

GENERAL OVERVIEW

Location

Central America.

Time zone

Central Time Zone.

Population

333,200.

Capital

Belmopan City.

Airport(s)

Phillip SW Goldson International Airport.

Language

English, Creole, Spanish.

Currency

Belize dollar (BZD). Tied at fixed rate to the US dollar (BZD $2=US $1).

Political system

Democratic.

International dialling code

+501.

Legal system

English Common Law.

Centre’s expertise

International Business Companies (IBCs), trusts, international insurance, mutual fund administra­tion and management, international banking.

TAX

Personal income tax

None for international financial sendees.

Corporate income tax

None for international financial services.

Exchange restrictions

None for offshore activities.

Tax treaties

Austria, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Nations, Denmark, Sweden, UK.

SHARE CAPITAL

Permitted currencies

Any currency.

Minimum authorised capital

US $1.

Minimum share issue

US $1.

TYPE OF ENTITY

Shelf companies

Yes.

Timescale for new entities

24 hours.

Incorporation fees

US $100 if capital is 50,000 or less; US $1,000 if authorised capital exceeds 50,000.

Professional Fees:

Vary according to service provider.

Annual fees

US $100 if capital is 50,000 or less; US $1,000 if authorised capital exceeds 50,000.

Professional fees:

Vary according to service-provider.

Professional fees:

Professional fees:

One.

Residency requirements

None.

Corporate directors

Permitted.

Meetings/frequency

Subject to memorandum and articles.

SHAREHOLDERS

Disclosure

No.

Bearer shares

Permitted but immobolised with local registered agent or foreign professional intermediary.

Minimum number

One.

Public share registry

No.

Meetings / frequency

As desired by directors or members.

ACCOUNTS

Annual return

No.

Audit requirements

No.

OTHER

Registered office

Yes.

Domicile issues

Continuation of IBCs or LDCs to Belize.

Company naming restrictions

No company shall be incorporated under the Act under the name that contains the words: assur­ance, bank, building society, trusts, Chamber of Commerce, insurance, municipal, royal, fund, or investment management.

Belize Companies

All annual licence fees are due on January 02, of each year.

If a company fails to pay the annual licence fee by July 31st, the licence fee increase by 10%

If a company fails to pay the annual licence fee by October 31st the licence increases by a further 50%

If a company fails to pay the annual licence fee by December 31st the company will be struck off the register