Belize is situated on the Caribbean seaboard of Central America, with the Mexican border on its North and the Guatemalan border on the West and South. With only a two hours flight from Miami, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Charlestown South Carolina, New Orleans and Los Angeles, Belize is very convenient for doing business. Belize has been Independent since 1981 and is the home of approximately 250,000 people of diverse ethnic background. Belize is known for its political and economic stability and its Legal System is based on English Common Law and local statute. Its currency is the Belize dollar which is pegged to the US dollar of a rate of BZ$2.00 to US$1.00. English is the official language; however, Spanish is widely spoken. In the past, Belize's financial system was driven by the exportation of logwood and mahogany and of late on agriculture, but it soon became obvious that diversification of the economy was essential for its survival, and in particular the development of offshore financial services which was launched in 1990.
The Offshore Company or International Business Company (IBC) is a tax-free and exchange control-free Limited Liability Company, incorporated under the laws of Belize, however all its profit-earning activities must be conducted outside Belize. A foreign company also has the option to continue under the law of Belize as an IBC and would still have all the benefits provided by law. IBC's incorporated in Belize are often used by high net worth individuals to lease and own property, estate planning, tax optimization and also in conjunction with trust and by international companies in cross border transactions.
The IBC Registry in Belize is fully computerized and modernized and can accomplish company incorporation within less than one hour. The registry allows for Chinese Incorporations and the shares held in a company may be denominated in any currency. Belize, with its developing market and over 35,000 companies to date, affords individuals the uniqueness of names due to availability. This is to say, that though we have come a long way, we are still only at the tip of the iceberg.
A fundamental feature of the IBC in Belize is how the law was specially designed to be cost saving. One of the ways this has been accomplished is by ensuring that the registration fee remains competitive alongside the other offshore jurisdictions. The license fee for a standard company having an authorized share capital of US$50,000 having par value is US$100.00. The registered agent/office fee is about US$300.00 along with a one-time setup fee of roughly US$400.00. Because there are no minimum capital requirements, no need for audited accounts, no annual returns, no requirement for a local director or secretary and no requirement for an annual general meeting, the costs of maintaining a Belize IBC are kept to a minimum.
Another feature that makes a Belize IBC attractive is its flexibility. Only one director and one shareholder are necessary and it may have bearer shares or registered shares, voting or non-voting shares as well as the authorized share capital may or may not have a par value. The IBC may conduct any business that is not prohibited under the laws of Belize save and except for banking, insurance, trust management and collective investments, which requires a license. The IBC may also purchase its own shares and redeem its own shares.
Although the Belize IBC must conduct all its profit earning activities outside Belize, it may lease an office in Belize, obtain the services of Belize professionals and trust companies, keep its company records and hold meetings in Belize, operate an account with a local Banking institution, hold shares in another Belize IBC and own vessels registered in Belize.
Finally, one of the most important features why Belize is so attractive is Confidentiality. We are currently living in an era where there has been a significant increase in scrutiny, regulations and increase in taxes. Belize's law has provided provisions to make certain that the freedom of the individual and the sanctity of private commercial transactions are available. To register a company in Belize proper due diligence is carried out by the registered agents in compliance with The Money Laundering Act and Code of Conduct in Belize. A company may choose to have nominee directors or nominee shareholders; however, the only document presented for public filing at the registry is the Memorandum and Articles of Incorporation. There is no requirement for public disclosure or annual filing of accounts under the act. The Financial Intelligence Unit of Belize and the International Financial Services Commission of Belize are the only two organizations that have privy to client's information upon request.
In conclusion, 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, as it relates to confidence, integrity and reliability in Belize's dynamic offshore service sector and answers perfectly "WHY BELIZE?"
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IBC Revised Act 2000
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Belize IBC Revised Act 2000
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