Belize is a classic among the offshore tax havens. Few other offshore jurisdictions offer the range of benefits and features that Belize does. Belize began its first forays into offshore business with the introduction of the International Business Companies Act in 1990, allowing for zero taxation on IBCs.
With its low incorporation costs and flexible legislation, it is rapidly becoming a viable alternative to other more expensive jurisdictions.
There are the following types available for incorporation in Belize:
- International Business Companies,
- International Limited Liability Companies,
- Trust Funds,
- International Foundations,
- Private Companies,
- Limited Liability Partnerships,
- Limited Duration Companies,
- Public Investment Companies,
- Joint Ventures and Cooperatives,
- Sole Proprietor
The most popular forms of offshore entities registered by most international businesses are the International Business Company or Trust. They can be used either separately or in combination.
Belize can offer the widest range of investment vehicles. The largest outbreak in the development of Belize offshore industry happened in 1998, with the election of a new Government in Belize and more accent on the offshore services sector. The new 7 offshore industry measures were added to the legislation in 1999. They included:
- the International Financial Services Commission Act, aimed in promoting, protecting and enhancing an international financial services center of Belize and regulating the provision of international financial services,
- the Mutual Funds Act, providing for the authorization, regulation and control of mutual funds, their managers and administrators,
- the Protected Cell Companies Act, allowing to incorporate protected cell companies or convert existing company to a protected cell company,
- the International Insurance Act, which provides for the regulation of people opening and holding international insurance business,
- the Limited Liability Partnerships Act, which allows to create limited liability partnerships,
- the International Business Companies (Amendment) Act, providing for the establishment of limited duration companies,
- the Retired Persons (Incentives) Act, which offers certain tax exemptions and incentives to qualified retired persons.
Subsequently this list was widened by implementing new legislation, including:
- International Foundations Act, 2010, regulating operation of international foundations,
- International Limited Liability Companies Act, 2011, which allows to create an international LLC
The regulatory framework governing the supervision and regulation of banks and other financial institutions in Belize consists of various laws including the International Banking Act, the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) Act, International Financial Services Practitioners (Code of Conduct) Regulations, and the International Financial Services Commission Act. These, along with circulars, provide a comprehensive framework through which the important function and role of these financial intermediaries can be efficiently and prudently carried out.