Belize Offshore Companies

The formation and incorporation of Belize Companies or International Business Companies (IBC) in Belize has been performed since the government of Belize passed legislation which supports and regulates IBC incorporation in 1990. With regard to offshore services, the incorporation of International Business Companies which we will refer to as an IBC from here on, is just one of the many offshore businesses obtainable through Belize offshore financial sector. Other offshore businesses offered under the Belize legislation include International Insurance, Trust and Offshore Banking. Belize began offering offshore services as early as 1990 with the IBC Act, and since has developed into a much respected and well established offshore jurisdiction.

According to the International Business Companies Act a Belize offshore company is regarded as a company registered under the Act in Belize which can conduct any kind of legitimate investment or business activities anywhere; with the exception of trust, insurance or banking business in which case the Belize company must be specifically licensed and is authorized to do so. A Belize IBC cannot conduct any business within Belize nor can a Belize company conduct business on behalf or with residents of Belize. All business activities must be done offshore. But a Belize company can lease space or property to be used as an office in Belize and can engage professionals such as lawyers, business advisors, accountants to assist in business operations. Belize companies can own a vessel or vessels which are registered in Belize providing they are registered in accordance with the Registration of Merchant Ships Act.

Belize companies or Belize IBCs can have one director and one shareholder who can be the same person. The owners of a Belize company determine the authorized share capital of the company and there is no minimum capital required for Belize International Business companies. Currency for the capital of a Belize IBC can be in any denomination which is accepted by the Central Bank of Belize. A Belize company can issue either bearer shares or registered shares and the standard share capital for a Belize IBC is US$50,000 or the equivalent on any other acceptable recognized currency.

Belize is considered a tax haven like many other countries, primarily because IBCs and other offshore businesses are exempted from taxes and duties: corporate, income, profits, withholding, sales, value added, land, stamp or import. This tax exemption for IBCs is guaranteed by the International Companies Act for a period thirty years.

There are strict legislative conditions and requirements for IBCs in Belize, those of which are similar to or like most other offshore jurisdictions. Belize IBCs are not required to keep financial records (in Belize), but the company may keep records if it desires and these records can be kept anywhere in the world. The Belize International Business Act stipulates that all offshore companies must be registered through a licensed offshore service provider or agent.

The IBC Act states that Belize companies should not include in its name: any phrase or word which suggests ties to the Belize Government, or the British Royal family. IBC names should not include the following words: Imperial, Government, Municipal, Cooperative, Chartered or Chamber of Commerce. A Belize company will not be registered if its proposed name is the same of an existing company or bears similarities with an already incorporated company which might cause confusion.

Confidentiality is a crucial characteristic of any tax haven and as a tax have Belize offers confidentiality to clients. Nominee services are permitted to ensure all information pertaining to actual owners, shareholders or directors of the IBC are not disclosed to public. Additionally, Belize has no information exchange treaty with other countries, and all Belize companies are exempted from foreign exchange controls, unlike local Belize companies that are subject to exchange control

To order an IBC in Belize, a valid picture identification, a completed order form and agent fees are all that are initially required. The owner must have available the recommended Belize company name, share distribution and should have an idea of the services which will be provided by the agent such as nominee services, registered offices services and other ancillary services that provide more privacy and confidentiality.

Registration of offshore companies in Belize is done within 24 hours, and the Memorandum of Association and the Articles of Association (prepared by the agent) are the only documents required for registration. The Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association of an International Business Company in Belize must contain the name of the company, the full address of local agent and full address of local office, nature of business (objects or purpose) share currency, number of classes and the series of shares, the set authorized capital, assignment and conditions of shares.

Belize International Business Companies are the global company entities designed to conduct global trade and investment with limited or zero taxation; as such when used a Belize offshore company or IBC is an efficient tool for asset protection and tax.